Re: Sick Sarracenia

Oliver T Massey CFS (
Fri, 19 Aug 1994 15:31:01 -0400

> From Fri Aug 19 15:15:06 1994
> Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 12:14:38 -0700
> Reply-To:
> Originator:
> Sender:
> From: (Barry Meyers-Rice)
> To: Multiple recipients of list <>
> Subject: Sick Sarracenia
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> Content-Length: 1538
> Sick plants:
> OK, so the symptoms of a few unhappy Sarracenia are:
> 1)Leaves starting to become a little pale---not yellowing so much as white!
> I first thought perhaps some Calcium buildup from something. Mind you, fully
> mature leaves which looked fine earlier in the season are changing colour. It
> is not just young leaves being hurt.
> 2)Small brown drops about .5 mm diameter on the leaves. When I saw these,
> I first thought they were scale. But it is just some kind of dried material.
> 3)Some dying leaves, and new leaves appear distorted.
> 4)The roots are in excellent shape.
> 5)It is not chemical/cultural since other plants in the same tray are not
> being effected.
> So I went to the plant pathology department yesterday. The department head
> thought it was a virus (but he's a virologist). Another professor suspected
> it was a fungus (but he studies fungus). This morning I looked at the
> plants and found the smoking gun---on some of the most infected leaves
> I found zillions of invertebrates. I took new samples into the
> entomology dept.
> and had it verified as thrips.
> To look for thrips, you'll probably need a hand-lens. Look for small
> crawling insects about 0.5--1.0 mm long, and about .25 mm wide. They
> are elongated crawling insects that are semi-transparent (at least
> mine are). They suck fluids and expell droplets onto the plant. I'm
> going to get rid of mine by swabbing the leaves with a bit of alcohol,
> and letting them sit in shade for a few hours as the alcohol dries.
> They apparently do not enter the roots.
> Barry


Good to here the official diagnosis!

I didn't catch it from the others but your description matches a problem I have
had off and on with some of my Sarrs. I say some because my S. minors don't
seem to get them, nor do S. psittacina or hybrids with psittacina. But they
can really screw up the tall Sarrs.

I saw the little buggers but didn't know what they were. Malathion worked for
me, but damaged the plants sometimes if I wasn't careful (and was not 100%
effective). I went to pyrethrin which has worked very well.

BTW, my infestation comes in black and grey as well as your semi-transparent
variety. When they are active, they literally swell up with plant juices.

Tom in Fl