Intro and Drosera evolution
Wed, 14 Jun 95 07:57:07 PDT

Hi Everyone-

Let me introduce myself - my name is Chuck Powell. I've been growing cp,
on and off, for about 30 years and currently have a moderate collection
covering all cp genera. I also sell a few plants in the US (address in
CPN). I live in the San Francisco Bay area (San Jose) and work as a
molluscan paleontologists for the U. S. Geological Survey. And I'd like to
bring up a couple of topics.

First I volunteer at the Palo Alto Jr. Museum and Zoo. The Museum has an
active display (and interest) in cp for 4 or 5 years, including a large cp
sale every July (July 15th this year). They are thinking of expanding
their growing area to include a fairly large outdoor pit. I was wondering
if cp people in the US would be interested in donating cp and associated US
bog plants for this outdoor display? I figure it will take over 100
Sarracenia and a similar number of native US Drosera also a lesser number
of native Pinguicula and Utricularia. If there is enough interest
(donations) the project will proceed - if not well work something else out
for the area. If anyone is interested in donating plants I can be reached
at my e-mail address: or at the address in CPN.

Second I've been following the discussion of cp (Drosera) evolution with
great interest, although at times it seems to drift into the bizarre. I
would like to discuss several topic in regards to evolution. 1. Some of
the discussion leads one to think that Drosera are thinking of ways to
evolve to fill various nitches. My understanding of evolution (any
evolution) is that random variations occur through time. If these
variations increase the plants (or whatever) ability to reproduce (and grow
to maturity to reproduce again) then it is beneficial and will result in
the spread of the plant. Anything else doesn't count. As for the
variations in evolution rates between Australia and South America. It
doesn't have all that much to do with climate as you can find areas with
similar climates on both continents. What has happened is that Drosera in
Australia have randomly developed a method to live and grow in dryer area
(possibly multiple times - suggested by pygmy Drosera and tuberous
Drosera). This has opened up vast new area (nitches) for colonization by
species which randomly adapt to use these generally underutilized areas.
2. As for suggesting that because an area has more species of Drosera (or
any other taxa) than another that it is then the area of origin is wrong.
This can easily be seen if you look at the evolution of the genus
Nepenthes. It only means that the most recent evolution of that taxa,
Drosera in this case, has occurred in that particular area (Australia in
this case).

I've a bit more to say about cp evolution but will wait and see how this is
accepted before I progress. Good growing.