Its probably a QUARSI-SERPENTINE-GLEY (endemic)!?!

Date: Sun Jun 27 1999 - 06:38:59 PDT

Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 23:08:59 +0930
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2346$foo@default>
Subject: Its probably a QUARSI-SERPENTINE-GLEY (endemic)!?!

Dear All

OK MOST CPs can withstand 1/10 to 1/8 Seawater. But the important
aspect to the growth of the Venus Flytrap is its "Faun-Coloured"
root hairs. In the wild these are very "long and persistent" and
are identical in colour to those produced by the seedling as it
emerges from the seed-coat or testa. These are rarely produced in
cultivation outside of its native United States.

Check out the classic photo of the seedling "roots-hairs" in one of
the early "Zahl series" - National Geographic Vol. 119, No. 5, May
1961. For those of you who don't have these on CD Rom, kindly
email me for a small JPEG scan.

Basic plant anatomy and physiology should teach one that roots may
serve to anchor a a macrophyte such as a tree but root hairs
usually only have three basic functions namely Water and Nutrition
and point of rendezvous for Symbiotic relationships which usually
just reinforce one other or both of the first two major points in
return for photosynthate (ie the 'price' in regard to the
cost/benefit ratio)

These initial root-hairs, of the VFT, are almost as long as the
Cotyledons and remind one of 'flower-to-plant' ratio in some of
the Pygmy Drosera. Why is there so much investment in these root
hairs by such a small seedling when it is supposedly growing in
nutrient poor soil and is Carnivorous? Surely the traps should be
prominent and roots / root-hairs negligible? After all there's
plenty of moisture about - practically rains every day in Summer in
North Carolina!?

So it's highly likely that these "Long, Persistent" root hairs are
produced for either nutrition, symbiotic reasons or both. From my
reading if a symbiotic association does occur then it is highly
likely to be "Ericoid" in nature though not necessary ericoid in

An unusual aspect of this is that according to DJ Read et al the
main benefit of Ericoid mycorrhizae infection is increased
Nitrogen nutrition from the surrounding high Lignin A0 horizon. If
this occurs then it begs the question - why are many CPs
Carnivorous? Do the plants supply something from their prey (as
well as photosynthate) to the fungus in return for metalliferous
exploration and Nitrogen acquisition?- if so, then what precisely?
What, then, is the true nature of their Carnivory?

There has been a lot of supposition in the literature as to the
possibility that the Magnesium atom in Chlorophyll (a, b or other)
could be replaced by Nickel since there is only a 1/100th
difference in ionic diameter between these two ions even though
Nickel is a large heavy metal atom. I feel certain, now, that if
such a plant or plants are going to be discovered then they will be
found amongst the ranks of the Carnivorous; which should help to
elevate their status, in botanic circles at least, from "mere
Toys" or novelties and may even give them a unique level among
plants in general since such plants may help to improve research in
such diverse fields as Solar-Cell technology.

Magnesium like Calcium(Mex Pings. excluded) is fairly toxic to many
CPs; especially in the presence of other Serpentine elements. As
such it causes a similar reaction to that discovered (for Calcium)
by Meredith Rayner in the early part of this century whilst
studying the Califuge Habit in the Yorkshire Downs of England and
reinforces the notion that a similar mycorrhizal association
probably operates under favourable conditions with many CPs as

The above is not even a thumbnail sketch of my work and theory
development to date.

I will however take "a punt in the dark" so to speak and predict
that the following CPs should respond favourably to such

THE VENUS FLYTRAP (now you know why its so hard to grow!)
THE QUEENSLAND Drosera (and in reverse order to degree of present
cultural difficulty) (also predicts existence of others and where
to look)
Drosera hamiltonii
Drosera binata (to some degree)
Utricularia menziesii
Utricularia multifida & tenula
Byblis gigantea
Pygmies in the Porongurrups region of WA
Tuberous of the praefolia / rosulata / orbiculata / bulbosa group
Kinabalu (particularly rajah) Nepenthes & merriliana
DROSERA REGIA (ever wondered why they have that sickly yellow
Drosera trinernia, cunifolia, cistiflora & others.
Drosophyllum lusitanica
Drosera filiformis & chrysolepsis
Drosera rotundifolia
Pinguicula vulgaris, lusitanica, hirtiflora + others

I also predict that you will not find a "healthy!" Sarracenia
growing in the wild next to a "healthy!" Venus Flytrap and vice

Some of you may realize now just why I need to build a far larger
greenhouse just to test if and how all the pieces of the jigsaw
fit together. Hopefully it should usher in a new phase of CP
cultivation where some the traditionally more difficult Genera will
become consistently easier to grow and propagate.

Anyway I hope at the very least my list of predictions will spark
some of you into experimentation (if not discussion) - if only to
prove the theory wrong. I guess some of you will be off on a trip
to the Carolinas this weekend to find that elusive pitcher plant
flytrap combination - though if you do find it, it'll probably be
with a purpurea!

Anyway all the best.

DAVION - |C4, B3, Eb4. F#4|>(*U*)<|E3, F3, A3, C#4, B3, C4, E4,

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