CP Search In Florida

From: MCATALANI@aol.com
Date: Fri Oct 08 1999 - 13:51:49 PDT

Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 16:51:49 EDT
From: MCATALANI@aol.com
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3490$foo@default>
Subject: CP Search In Florida

Hey gang,
Now that I have a minute, I wanted to update you all on my latest trip to the
field. My girlfriend Kristi and I re-visited the area around Destin Florida
back in August 1999, an area I last visited about 9 years ago. The Destin
area was famous for its drainage ditch CP collections, and I was very
interested to see how they had faired against a rapid commercial expansion of
the area. I also visited sites around the Freeport, Fl area, as well sites
along I-10 into Mississippi.

There is much bad news to report, especially in the Florida sites. But before
I depress everyone, let me quickly add some good news. The CP areas inside
Eglin Air Force base (which is a very large section of land) has been
reported to be in very good shape. I did not explore this area, but the areas
of public access immediately adjacent to the base. Also, a large tract of
land near Perdido and Pensacola Florida was set aside for protection of the
plants. I plan on checking this site out next spring.

Now for the bad news. 9 years ago the highway that runs through Destin, Sun
Destin, and into Santa Rosa Florida was full of CP. These ditches stretched
for many miles, interrupted every 20-50 feet by a drive way or entrance into
business. Large plants of D. intermedia would grow right in the ditch water
so densly that it would be difficult to see that there was water in the
ditch. D. tracyi would grow on the sloped bank about one to two feet from the
water. Large D. capillaris, totally red due to the full exposure of the sun,
would grow higher up on the bank. You could study these drainage ditches and
better understand the watering likes and dislikes of the different species.
These sundews were joined by S. psittacina, S. leucophylla, and S. flava
(several color forms). These plants seemed to have recently re-taken an area
that was disturbed by construction of a gas station, as they had populated
back to either side of the concrete driveway.

But that was 9 years ago. This year, we were greeted to machinery digging up
every ditch that seemed to be located between Destin to beyond SunDestin in
order to lay new gas and water lines. The ditches were tore up completely,
being dug out for up to 10 feet deep. I did find D. capillaris behind the
donut hole restaraunt in very dry sand. They had no dew on them, and they
were probably about to die off, growing as annuals in this area. S. flava
plants could still be found east towards Santa Rosa, but their numbers in
this region were drastically lower.

I also revisited the large S. flava sites near Freeport Florida.
Unfortunately these have mostly been cleared and replaced by tree farms. At
one site I immediately found about a dozen copperhead snakes and no pitcher
plants, so I left in digust. The site where I first saw S. flava in the wild
was near Freeport. This site used to have S. flava, S. psittacina, and S.
leucophylla x purpurea (so leucophylla and purpurea had to be close by) When
we arrived there, I was so stunned after seeing the large tree farm where
massive stands of plants used to be, I wasnt able to see the 20 or so S.
flava plants that remained clinging to the newly created ditch. Kristi found
them, which also consisted of 2 S. flava x purpurea hybrids (so purpurea may
still be there as well) I did find in some of the ditches of this area S.
pisttacina, D. capillaria and D. tracyi, but D. intermedia was very scarce.
it was really dry this year, and maybe they will be back in force next year.

The good news is that the massive S. alata stands along I10 in Mississippi
are still in very good shape as compared to when I last saw them. I found a
stand conveniently located behind a gas station that contained banana
yellow, striped, and totally burgundy plants. However, i did not see the S.
leucophylla plants that used to grow along and inbetween I10. One hopes that
the pitchers were cut by a recent mowing, and that they are still there.

I will be going on several trips next year. If anyone wishes to meet us
there, let me know. Several people have already expressed interest, and it
will be a lot of fun to get a group together. It helps to have some extra
eyes out for snakes. Cotton mouths, by the way, are not timid at all, and
will chase you down if you get to close to their nests. I have found that
copperheads are curious, but will get out of your way. Cotton mouths have an
attitude problem.

Michael Catalani

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