NEW FOR NOVEMBER By Michael Reif

NEW FOR NOVEMBER


People checking out the Carnivore Culture web site likely have questions, particularly if they didn't read one of my first columns. Most of the questions come in the form of, "When are you going to have ________(fill in the name of the CP you are searching for here) available?" Truth is, if it was just a numbers game, there would be many more species listed. But this company is not about numbers. It's about quality. Owner Matt Byers will not post plants unless they are mature enough and of the highest quality. His goal has been to propogate and distribute the best examples of any particular carnivorous plant, and that has been true from day one!

But I am happy to report that the company just secured some absolutely stunning examples of Sarracenia psittacina, which were grown from seed from plants native to the Okefenokee Swamp. If you have been fortunate enough to see this pitcher plant growing in its natural environment, you know that it tends to form large floating mats among large sphagnum moss "islands." I've personally never been lucky enough to see these particular plants in the field, as they are reachable almost exclusively from some sort of water vehicle, like a canoe or kayak. What I have seen are several tubs full of these plants, which are growing aquatically. They are some of the most colorful and diverse examples of this species: Some are deep purple-red with lots of white fenestrations (light windows) on their large, globose hoods, while others are a brilliant yellowish green with deep scarlet hoods and somewhat less fenestrations, and of course every imaginable form in between. To the best of my knowledge, Carnivore Culture is the only CP retailer to have these beauties available right now. Some plants grow to giant size, while others stay small but quickly send out new growth to form interconnected clusters.

The important thing to be aware of is that to grow the best looking plants, you need to grow them in the cleanest, purest water possible and it must be acidic. You can collect rainwater and add distilled white vinegar to lower the pH. I always suggest that CP growers have a basic pool water test kit, so they can be absolutely certain of the water's acidity. I have been told that adding an inexpensive aquarium pump to keep the water aerated works well, as in the Swamp the water is always moving, even if it's not always noticable. It's also important to change out the water and never allow it to become stagnant. Some growers swear that adding aquatic utrics seems to lead to healthier plants, but this is mostly anecdotal at this point; I'm not aware of any actual studies. Still, what could it hurt?

There are lots of new plants that are being propagated right now, so I urge you to keep your eyes on this web site. Some species are exceedingly rare and the number of plants are limited. For now, I'll personally be happy to have a small tub with three or four Okee psittacinas in my collection!