Heliamphora new pitcher growth

From: Howie Shen (epoxy2600@yahoo.com)
Date: Thu May 20 1999 - 12:03:29 PDT


Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 12:03:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Howie Shen <epoxy2600@yahoo.com>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg1762$foo@default>
Subject: Heliamphora new pitcher growth

I'm sure a few of you have grown Helios for many years and can answer
this for me. Does a new pitcher/leaf emerge only from the wing at the
base of the last pitcher to reach maturity? I've noticed that this
seems to be the growth pattern of my Helios unlike Sarracenia where new
pitchers seem to just spontaneously shoot up in all directions from the
exposed crown.

In Heliamphora it seems that once a pitcher reaches maturity, you can
notice a small discoloration form within the base of its wing, which is
technically (I guess) two wings that are pressed tightly together to
form the appearence of just one, and over a period of a few days it
becomes clear that a silhouette of a new pitcher can be seen within
this protective sheath. The new leaf gets taller within the wing, then
slowly "backs out", rotates so that it is not directly opposite the
parent leaf, and then begins to dramatically grow in size. Does this
imply that if the most recently-formed Helio pitcher is removed, then
the foliage growth of the plant will be delayed because the new growth
would have come out of that leaf? Would that be the end of pitcher
formation for that crown, and the rhizome would be induced to start
another? This seems like a rather primitive growth pattern, to produce
only one new pitcher at a time per crown and to have that growth
dependent on whether the previous leaf makes it to maturity! But I
guess it is that primitiveness that makes the Heliamphora so
interesting to me.

Sorry if I am rambling, but I do find this genus to be fascinating on
many levels, and I encourage other CP growers who haven't been
interested in them to take a closer look. Yes, these plants are for
the most part still expensive and hard to find commercially, but they
are VERY easy to grow if you place them in a cool, bright, humid tank
and they are very beautiful and mysterious.

-Howie

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