More on growing WA Utrics in the UK

Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 12:34:56 PST

Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 23:17:04 GMT+00:00
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3804$foo@default>
Subject: More on growing WA Utrics in the UK

Dear Kris,

Thanks for your comments even though they may be a little

>Too many times do I see people trying to grow plants without
observing >the conditions to which the plant is suited. U. tenella
is one of the >few Utrics in SA (South Australia), and I can assure
you we have very >hot summers, yet the plants grow happily over this
period usually dying >off at the end of summer, and carrying on to
the next season from >roots/rhizoids. I'm no expert on growing
utrics by a long shot, but what >I try to do with every species that
I grow is to find out as much about >the habitat, climate etc. as I
can. Then I'm in a better position to be >able to successfully grow
the plant in question. If a plant grows in >loam, I'll grow if in
loam, if it grows in pure sand, I'll grow it in >pure sand, you get
the idea.

Yes these ideas have already travelled across my over imaginative

I first became interested in these small Australian Utricularia
 following the appearance of an excellent article by Allen Lowrie
 \221The wetland Utricularia of Cape le Grand, Esperance, WA'. This
 appeared in the UK Society Journal back in 1991. With my
 imagination captured by this I decided to attempt to grow as many
 of these things as I could over the next couple of years though
 starting with the Esperance plants. I was lead to believe that the
 climate of this wetland area is probably cooler and wetter than you
 are used to in SA. In addition the annual species of this area and
 other parts of Southern WA grow during the cooler wetter periods of
 the year, flowering and setting seed before the environment they
 live in\177 0starts to dry out.

Correspondence with Allen in order to obtain the seed provided more
 useful information and as a result of this exercise I was able to
 see the flowers of U.helix, U.violacea, benthamii, inaequalis as
 well as U.multifida as I mentioned in my previous note. (If
 interested the images of some of these are on the CP database). So
 my failure to obtain flowers with U.tenella and westonii (though
 perhaps a slight success as I was at least able to germinate the
 seed) was only part of an overall bigger story. Oh -- I also
 forgot to mention the somewhat larger U.volubilis which is a very
 strange beast indeed! This thing grows like the blazes during the
 winter months in the UK, this large affixed aquatic plant inhabits
 a series of po! ts in water containers in my conservatory. During
 the UK summer its growth grinds to a halt and much of the foliage
 dies off. One year I was sure it had died on me! Then once the
 cooler autumn arrives it reappears from creamy white stolons in the
 compost and off it goes again. These experiences had thus caused
 me to associate these things as cooler winter growers, which may be
 at odds with your observations in SA.

I had considered at the time (91 --93) that I had been very
successful in my experiments with these species that few others had
attempted to grow -- I put down much of this success to considering
the plants habitat before I started.

Regarding your comments on U.tenella, I have the understanding that
this is an annual species so it will be reappearing from seeds
rather than anything left in the substrate from the previous season.
Unlike most terrestrial Utrics that travel through the substrate by
runner stolons, these little Aussie annual species form a basal
rosette of leaves. This fact that they do not spread out and
colonise like other Utricularia and their annual nature means they
are more difficult to maintain in cultivation.



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