cp habitat in coastal South Carolina

From: Mellard, David (dam7@cdc.gov)
Date: Wed Jun 30 1999 - 08:42:03 PDT

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 11:42:03 -0400
From: "Mellard, David" <dam7@cdc.gov>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2389$foo@default>
Subject: cp habitat in coastal South Carolina

I should make it clear that when I stated that many of the cp habitats are
under an inch or so of water in winter and spring that that doesn't mean
that the cp's are growing in the water. For instance, when I visited a
right-of-way in winter in Summerville, I found no D. capillaris, probably
because of the occasional freezing weather or most of the right of way was
under water. The same is true in early spring, although I started to find
D. capillaris on slightly raised areas, which were no longer covered by
water. D. capillaris will, however, tolerate short periods of being covered
in water. In Summer the same right-of-way will be dry or damp but no
standing water and there will be tons of D. capillaris and intermedia now
growing everywhere in the right-of-way. The same is true for the borders of
a swampy area where I won't find drosera until late spring. Then, I will
find D. intermedia growing in moss (not sphagnum moss) in the wettest areas
just before the water line and D. capillaris will be growing in damp areas
several feet back from the water line. There is probably a short area where
capillaris and intermedia will co-mingle but then as you walk just a few
feet further from the swamp and the soil moisture is lower, you'll only find
D. capillaris. As summer progresses and the swamp starts to dry up (I've
never seen this little swampy area completely dry) I will find lots of D.
intermedia growing out in the now damp muck of the receding swamp, growing
profusely in areas that were once under a foot or so of water. I often
wonder how the seed got that far out, probably at least 20 yards into the

I've not found Sarracenia flava growing in places with long-standing water.
Rather, they will grow on the edge of (but not in) old tire tracks made when
a wooded area was long and they've gone back in to reclaim the territory.
Nor will I find S. flava growing in an area of the same field that's under
an inch or so of water in winter. I have found S. minor in or close the
area that's covered with water in winter. That will require more
observations, though, before I state any conclusions about Sarracenia's
tolerance for growing in standing water. We obviously have the example of
S. minor Okee Giant, which the books say will grow in water. I have two S.
psittacina that have spent over a year and a half growing in a plastic
container filled with water. This spring they sent their leaves straight up
in an attempt to clear the water is my guess, although now the leaves have
settled horizontally and are submerged.

This is certainly one of the joys I get from visiting the same areas during
different seasons. It's fascinating to see how cp's react to the
environmental pressures put on them. Plus, my family there now knows that I
will take a few hours here and there to visit these places and are starting
to realize that that's why I visit them so often <gr> Plus, I usually come
bearing gifts: Mom loves Russell Stover candy and sister Clodis loves Zero
candy bars. And then my retired, brother-in-law Burnett (don't you just
love these odd Southern names), who redefines the word macho in my world, is
the best, darn down-home Southern cook. I have a brother named St. Clair
and a nephew named Murrett. There's no Billie-Bob or Jimmy-Raye and we all
have teeth, well most of us. Ok, enough of that.


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