Edit 7/31/17: Pictures have been wiped out from photobucket, but now I have new and better photos of this clone! S. alata in general has been very unpopular and in relatively low demand since the late 1990's and early 2000's, but now that people have become aware of the color forms and the jaw dropping hybrids that can be made using alata, the species is now surging in interest!
I've been trying to breed and select for vigorous, shapely black alatas for a while now, and it seems surprisingly difficult to get what you're looking for. I've literally grown out more than a 1000 seedlings and got maybe less than a dozen dark variants. This difficulty in producing those backbone genetics makes Mike King's alatas that much more precious (to me at least!).
But back to this particular clone: it was imported from Mike King several years ago, and for the most part, the plant looked boring to me: green with a red interior. Fastforward many years later, I started taking care of it, repotting the plant and giving it excellent light after being inspired by seeing these alata hybrids in situ: sarracenia.proboards.com/thread/885/alata-stunning-leucophylla-hybrids-jackson The results? Last year, my plant produced approx. 2.5' traps that were almost solid black! Wish I took pics of it then..damn! However, the traps this year are pretty impressive so far, maybe not as big and colorful but they're getting there!
S. alata 'black' MK A58 Stone Co, MS, photos taken 7/30/17:
Can you tell which side of the trap gets full sun and which side is shaded?
Craz phenotypic variance! Some strange yet beautiful shapes:
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2017 12:56:52 GMT -5 by meizzwang
Lovely! I agree with the elusive dark genes. Make a pile of crosses and get only a few with the dark pigments. It's the back-crosses, with dark parents, that are a little better. Alata backcrosses produced Vortex/Tornado and a bunch of other "sister" hybrids. The flava rubricorpora x alata dark produced mostly coppery topped or mixed pigments; only a couple make the deep red pitchers. These were more red than the alata, but still pretty.
I think you're spot on with that bogman, that's a great and valuable observation! I think the dark colors in alata are much like breeding for anthocyanin free plants, except the dark colors can be more elusive because environmental factors play a significant role in full phenotypic expressions. The next step in the breeding process is to weed out all finicky plants so the dark colors show up easier under a variety of environmental conditions. Many growers don't have the heart to do this because you'll inevitably throw out potential winners, but that's the only way I can think of to get around the environmentally sensitive phenotypic expression issue. Probability-wise, if you grow out large enough populations, you should be able to find that one individual that colors up easily under many different environmental conditions.
Most of the proven dark black plants in the collection will flower next year, so I'll tinker with some crosses between different clones and report any findings in the years to come.
Unfortunately, you're right about tossing the plants that don't fit the goal(s). We keep a certain number of "toss-outs" as guinea pigs for experiments, or chemical testing. Sounds terrible! Still, you just can't keep them all.
Wow! The phenotypic variance within this clone is astounding! This brings up an important topic: those new, fancy names that Donnie and Stewy came up with for alata varieties (and I also question the validity of many other varietal nomenclature for Sarracenia). It is my opinion that had they seen how these plants behave in cultivation, I think they would have thought twice about publishing the new names.
For example, here's S. alata Black MKA58 Stone Co, MS. We know this plant can turn solid dark purple (almost black) under optimal conditions, but under the right conditions, it can also resemble S. alata var. rubrioperculata! So, is this S. alata var. nigropurpurea or S. alata var. rubrioperculata? It is for this very reason that I hesitate to adopt the new nomenclature. Not the best example since the red goes down the throat a bit, but you get my point. Photos taken 5/30/18:
Older trap to the left, younger trap to the right:
meizzwang -- that's an interesting point. I always kind of wondered about the nomenclature for the "new" (not so new anymore) nomenclature for S. alata. I've seen areolated plants in the wild -- I'm kind of surprised that they didn't raise those to a variety. Sure, it's not a huge distinction, but it is noticeable.
Anyway, these plants are excellent! I love S. alata, so it's fantastic to see some pictures of some nice, stately plants. I don't really know to express exactly why I like it -- I guess I just really like the pitcher form a lot, regardless of the coloration.
It's pretty great how these clones look -- I like how they have the darker throat and inside -- it's a neat contrast with the outside of the pitcher.
I just took a couple pics of mine yesterday just for this thread, and leave it to Mike to make me feel inadequate about posting them😂. Yours looks great Mike!
Unfortunately for me and my current growing situation I have a hard time getting full color from my plants, but I do my best to keep them happy until we can get into a better place. Anyways here's my alata 'black' I received from Mike last fall just as it is starting to crisp up and the indigestion is kicking in.
sanguinearocks101: What are good plants to make hybrids with S. luecophylla with? Im looking for dark colors.
Sept 10, 2020 18:46:52 GMT -5
adaetz100: Sarracenia purpurea tends to add a lot of red/purple to its offspring, but there are some lovely dark red flava x leucophylla crosses too. Look up 'Royal Ruby' if you're not familiar with it already--it's a natural flava x leuco hybrid
Sept 22, 2020 20:15:04 GMT -5
sarrseens: How about $50
Oct 3, 2020 10:35:54 GMT -5