The same applies to breeding a site specific varieties with one another. To my mind, breeding a Carolina var. atropurpurea with a Gulf Coast var. rubricorpora, for example, would merely further muddy waters already clouded both in the way you suggest and as is clearly the case when the geographical occurrence of these two varieties is considered. And besides, what is the goal in such breeding; what is the 'improvement' sought; again, what is the value of the offspring?
I think that depends on who you're asking. I love hybrids. Pure species are nice but I think hybrids are much more beautiful. I have an atro x ornata that I just love. Now, genetically, you're probably right, as usual lol, that they dont have much value but aesthetically i'd say you can find some neat plants in some inbred flavas from different locales. I do completely get what youre saying though about muddying the gene pool.
Post by Fellow Grower on Sept 29, 2013 6:29:36 GMT -5
Interesting debate. I think the ship has sailed in terms of keeping the 'gene pool' pure. The fact is that almost all growers in Europe and the States have been growing rubricorpora as 'atropurpurea' for decades. This means that all hybrids, and most 'specie' examples of offspring will be genetically not true atropurpurea. Short of dropping a nuclear bomb on all plants which have been sold in the last 100 years world wide, one can do little to ensure that the variety continues to exist in cultivation beyond accurately labelling true forms. I find statements like "offspring have no value" to be difficult to comprehend unless it relates to a solely genetic perspective. Certainly, in terms of breeding stock, one would need true stock. But outside of the purist genetic perspective, the plants that I saw in Britain and Canada were spectacular. I think they have immense value - but the labelling of those plants is questionable, granted.
There is a big drive these days with growers to label plants with their location. I have been and visited collections in several countries, including my own where labelling has been questionable. Again, are we collectors of 'labels' or of plants that amaze us because they are stunning, irrespective of location details? Put another way, is a chinese person of any less value if they are not branded as 'chinese' but rather branded as 'asian'? Of course not. If you wanted to breed a chinese baby, you would need certified chinese stock - but beyond that, isn't variety the spice of life?
In saying that, I don't propose to say that purity is not important. I just don't think that it is the only important thing.
Post by Ross in Christchurch NZ on Sept 29, 2013 7:29:41 GMT -5
I might be able to add some details regarding 'Waccamaw'. I believe that it was originally Phil Cotter who imported this plant from the United States in the late 1970s or early 80s. Don and I both obtained this plant from a private grower in 1988. Since that time I have sold dozens or hundreds of asexual divisions to growers and members of the public around New Zealand and therefore am confident that most CP growers in NZ would have one or would have had one at some point in time in their collections. Certainly every CP grower in Christchurch does and I am not aware that anybody apart from me has grown any from seed. My seed offspring has been kept separate from my original stock because this plant is very important genetically. I have completed both controlled pollination and open pollination with interesting results. In the open pollination, which was in no way protected from bees from other plants visiting, plant offspring ranged from cuprea through to atropurpura and even some rugelli.... strange indeed. More strange was that the offspring was only flava..... despite the atropurpureas being at the opposite end of the large (50 meter long) glasshouse to other flavas... and the glasshouse being full of other specie. If insects had pollinated the flowers, I would have expected random hybrids and not pure flava specie. For several years I did controlled pollination also and used muslin bags and geographic isolation to ensure that seed was no cross pollinated.
I have also exported this plant in times past to Thailand, Canada and Britain. In each case, I have labelled it carefully but the name Waccamaw was never used because until recently, the clone was never registered. I have also done a controlled pollination and seed from this has been sent to several countries and I have grown some myself. It also gave rise to a wide variety of forms including pure atropurpura looking plants. Seed (self pollinated) has been sent to several other countries, including Italy. The grower there has provided me with photographs of her stock and they are true to type, and look identical to our plants here. Moreover, they also clump nicely - something rubricorpora does not tend to do. All seedling offspring from this plant clumps.
Therefore I am confident that this plant is more widely cultivated than many know. I did also send some seed to England in 1999 but to whom I cannot say but it was most likely Marston Exotics.
I understand that when it was imported into NZ, it originally came from the botanical gardens in Atlanta, Georgia. This is however unverified... but the Christchurch Botanical Gardens had a programme in place at the time wherein plant material was swapped with international gardens. The propagator at the time, who is a friend of mine (and now a Cooneyite Preacher) was present at the gardens in the era when this happened but cannot recall exactly from where the Sarracenia came. Many however are confirmed as having come from New York and some from Peter Pauls' Nurseries originally. It is unlikely that 'Waccamaw' came from there however.
Whatever it's origin, Waccamaw is certainly an interesting and rare plant. It's great that it now has a clonal name and that people are becoming aware of the differences between atropurpurea and rubricorpora. Don Gray and Kiwi Earl have done a great job of researching this plant and I hope that the above gives some historical information as to it's place in New Zealand's CP history.
In the main I am referring to wild genetics as observed in the wild and the nomenclature applied thereby. My submission is that the current variety names of red flava are founded significantly on many years of misinterpretation of cultivated material where such plants were colloquially known as "red this or that".
The scientific naming of varieties is dependent on wild observations and consideration of all factors that contribute to their existence (as advanced by McPherson). That practice is not dependent on cultivated plants with no provenance that don't contribute to the recognition of varieties as they exist in habitat. Wild harvested seed that expresses true to the variety of the location and is complete with accurate records is, however, a component if the resultant seedlings are not adulterated with respect to their significance by producing intergrades that contribute only to the potential of misidentification as already witnessed. Beyond merely being pretty, with wild genetics labelling is vital.
This is all quite distinct from what (agreed) can be spectacular material in cultivation whatever its origins. Whilst there are few things more stimulating to a Sarracenia enthusiast that viewing what are beautiful plants per se, it is an entirely different matter.
I'm all for hybridising and selectively practice it myself, often being thrilled by the results. But what I'm not going to do is breed from, for example, wild sourced and maintained S.minor var. okefenokeensis and var. minor. In my view, while the resultant offspring may indeed be pretty, they are intermediate between the two and do nothing in terms of representing the varieties as already represented, not least when the wild source of the seed may be in peril. I would happily hybridise between Liberty County's S.flava var. rubricorpora and S.leucophylla as representative of a wild occurrence. But there is no way I would breed between a Liberty Co. FL var. rubricorpora and a Green Swamp, NC var. atropurpurea.
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2013 17:27:45 GMT -5 by kiwiearl
So, what do you think Earl? Could my blackwater atropurpurea be a dark cuprea or could it take a season or 2 to settle in and show its true colors or should an atropurpurea be red at all times no matter what?
Am I right in thinking they look like young plants/small divisions? If so, you will need to be patient till they become fully mature.
One thing to be acutely aware of with red flava is light level. So, the answer is: in other than optimal conditions a var. atropurpurea may not look as red as expected. Grown under shade for instance, it is unlikely that the plant will colour up much. You see this with all Sarracenia whether in the wild or cultivation. In fact, in var. atropurpurea and var. rubricorpora you can, in crowded cultivation situations, have pitchers that are red on the sun facing side and not on the side shaded by other plants.
Under optimal conditions (as seen in the natural habitat generally) Carolina var. atropurpurea will be red in the hood from the outset (see Jim Fowler's Green Swamp photos).
If your plants are getting as much light as possible they will deliver up as much colour as possible in turn. But that can all depend on your location/climate too. They are very sensitive and the reasons for not colouring can be very subtle with each season. And, very frustrating to pinpoint!
As for my thoughts on Blackwater, as can be seen from what I've written before I'm unlikely to even refer to it as a var. atropurpurea let alone var. cuprea
Hope your red plants turn out just as you want them to!
Post by Ross in Christchurch NZ on Sept 30, 2013 5:43:07 GMT -5
Couldn't agree more Julian - it's a shame to further contribute to wrecking genetic differences through interbreeding. I guess I just also appreciate diversity and truth be told, I'm not adversed to some of the crosses that I have seen. Some time ago I received seed from Italy of some really whacky crosses.... between named location plants. My first reaction was "What a shame"... that was until I saw the resulting plants. Some of them were fantastic. But as a purist, I agree with what you way - any 'adultery' should be kept very separate to true stock and labelling is paramount.
Outstanding discussion, gentlemen. I agree that a) plants should be labelled as correctly as possible (i.e. plants should not be atropurpureafied willy-nilly just because they are sorta red or because a grower wants their plant to be an atro); b) if location data is available for a plant this information should be preserved accurately; c) location-specificity spotlights the regional variation that is one of the spectacular features of the genus Sarracenia, and provides a certain cachet and rarity to that plant.
Say what you like about whether plants grown for horticultural enjoyment should be kept "pure." I personally enjoy both the distinctiveness of a Florida rubricorpora, a Carolina cuprea and the rather spectacular results of crossing them! And if you want to be the only kid on the block with an S. leucophylla from "West Bumfork Rd. AL, site 4", then cool.
However, one frequent assumption made by location-philes is that location-specificity is necessary for conservation and is superior to non-location specific genetics for the purposes of conservation. While a sound concept in general, it is not necessarily the case:
These studies were performed on isolated, remnant Virginia S. flava populations, but many Sarracenia populations throughout the genus' range are, sadly, just isolated remnants as well. I love these plants and can't lose sight of the big picture: that I want them around and not extinct, location label or not.
Post by meizzwang on Sept 30, 2013 19:13:03 GMT -5
Calen-thanks for bringing up such an interesting paper! Let's just say what Phil has done is in the "grey area", but given the details and circumstances of the situation, I believe he did a great job and made the right decision. I say "grey area" because what he has done isn't necessarily the best model to follow for all sarracenia in the wild. Each population has a unique situation which we must consider before crossing a lot of genetics together.
For example, let say there's only two populations of S. flava var. rubricorpora left in the wild, one in Bay Co, FL and the other in Liberty Co, FL. Both populations took perhaps hundreds of years to evolve, and they have not interbred with each other for countless generations since they're physically too far away from each other. The Liberty Co, FL population has different shapes, colors, etc. than the Bay Co, FL population.
Each population has great genetic diversity, but low population density due to global warming, habitat destruction, etc. In this case, if you crossed the two populations together, and planted them back into their native habitat, you'll eventually end up with two populations with the same genetics instead of having two populations with different genetics.
Why is it important to keep these two populations genetically separate? One population might have susceptibility to a disease like powerdery mildew or is more rot prone, for example, while the other population is tolerant, but not resistant to rot. You mix the two populations together, and the "hybrids" may become disease prone and the population has a larger number of plants with rot. The rot, which normally isn't present in large numbers, has a higher population density, which causes otherwise tolerant plants to succumb to the disease. In the end, your preservation efforts are lost.
What else could happen? I don't know, but I'd rather not experiment on the last remaining stands only to find that 40 years later, we ruined the native populations. Nature is time tested, and it's important we emulate nature to the best of our abilities to preserve it. A lot of consideration needs to take place before mixing populations together in the wild.
This I an interesting argument going back and forth here. I personally can see things from both sides. I understand the idea of keeping lines pure, for the sake of future conservation, and I will likely use the plants I am growing to that end (I have about 4 different lines of S. leucophylla going on, at least 2 I know the exact locations they came from), keeping seeds pure and from one populations, should the need to bring them back ever be found (and I pray that is not so). However, I am a sucker for the hybrids and fantastic crosses as well. I have a flava atro x ornata growing on that, while the parents may have both come from the Carolinas, may also have been hundreds of miles apart and likely wouldn't have been crossed. I also love the rubri x cupreas I've seen out there, and wouldn't mind having one of my own. However, I strictly believe that once we have crossed such plants, they should remain in cultivation and distinct from wild lines (I am a labeler, strict as I possibly can be, no funny business or slacking on locations, clones, etc.)unless we happen to hit the absolute, worst-case scenario of needing a full-reintroduction and being stuck with only such crosses, which really isn't likely. In a way, we can have both, the pure lines for genetics' sake, and the crosses and cultivars for cultivation's sake. But, the key is just to make sure we know who is what, and inform anyone who buys them exactly what they are getting and the importance of passing on that knowledge.
Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.
Miss a couple of days checking on the forum, and look what happens!!! So much to catch up with and digest. So many diverse and interesting points. HCarlton, KiwiEarl, I agree with you completely. Since I brought up the subject of location data/pedigree/history, it should be obvious I am firmly in the camp that wants to preserve that data to the nth degree in our personal collections. However, the idea that this is an exclusive either/or preference is mistaken. As can be seen in the numerous posts, very few growers (probably none) are exclusively pro data. Further, I doubt that many knowledgeable growers intentionally discards labels because they feel these are superfluous to the intrinsic aesthetics of the plants. I have quite a few unknown, suspiciously labeled, or x OP plants. They and the hybrids in my collection are there largely for aesthetic appeal and I admire and value those as such. But my time, finances and growing space limit how many of these kinds of plants I can indulge myself with. As I said in my first post above, the data is value ADDED. I don't collect labels but PLANTS WITH LABELS and I do my utmost to see the two are not separated. As pointed out, there is conservation, research and genetic value to these plants that does not exist in data-less plants.
Again, Eric has provided me with an example in his post about his flava Blackwater from Britain. A large number of European growers keep tracking data on their plants in the form of accession numbers which are a code for who the plant originated with and who has passed it on. Eric's Blackwater plant reminds me of the one I've seen photos of with the designation IPf16. IP is a nursery that supplies the plant and f(flava)16 is the nursery's designation for that clone. It is a clone I have admired for some time. European growers tend to record and preserve these acquisition codes and so a pedigree/history can often be traced from owner to owner back to origin. If the Blackwater plant came from a reputable grower with that data then Eric can be confident that his plant will eventually show the outstanding red color that he was expecting and also have a document of its origin and history in cultivation. In my own collection I have a plant that came labeled psittacina x gulfensis x luteola, no history, no originator, no data beyond the grower I got it from. It looks for all the world like a very attractive areolata - heavy on the leuco influence - lots of white in the upper pitcher and hood, about 18-24 inches typical height. It would be amazing if the labeled parentage were true. What could it teach us about the genetic influences of the purported parents? But I just can't see it being as labeled. If there was some history, some accession data, its identity could easily be proved - to my awe and utter amazement. Or, disproved and the true identity restored or if originally from the wild or a hybridizer, a possibly more appropriate identity established. As much as I like this plant, it has been diminished by the loss of its data, which in this case seems to include its true ID. It would be better if it were labeled S. unknown if the label was lost at one point. I have selfed this plant to see if it might reveal something more of itself. Bound up with its data/label, each plant in our collection has a story to tell and lessons to teach. I realize there may be some growers who could care less. Who feel that every plant, like every person, has its own unique beauty and value, that a rose by any name...and they are right, ... to a point. We all share some degree of that view or we would not be collecting and worrying over these plants. But calling a rose a zinnia does nothing to advance our understanding of roses OR zinnias. Misidentified plants hinder and confuse our understanding of the true nature and origin of the taxa. They can mislead us as to the relationships and evolution of the various species and subspecies.
Putting a correct identifier to an individual or object does not diminish their worth, rather shows a respect for and awareness of unique intrinsic value AND potential educational value. The generic "brand" asian is used not to diminish a person but to avoid the old fault of calling all oriental persons Chinese, there-by insulting/diminishing the Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. and even the Chinese themselves, whose ethnic identity is applied willy-nilly to other diverse peoples, disregarding the uniqueness of all. However, If I am studying some aspect/data of the ethnic Chinese, data from persons of other ethnic or generic brands would have no bearing on the target group. So yes, they would have little to no value in terms of the research, unless "branded" Chinese. This despite my personal appreciation of their own individual worth. Plants, unlike their human counterparts, can't smack us on the head and tell us we are being ignorant or mistaken and then correct us. As KE pointed out, a misidentified, unidentified, or incompletely identified individual cannot be used for most scientific research. Its potential contribution to our knowledge and understanding is lost. Its total value IS lessened. Does a verified Rembrandt or DaVinci have more value just because it is "branded"? You bet your butt it has! Is one that is suspected but cannot be verified less valuable? Absolutely! This is true on many levels, for many reasons. Are S. oreophila, S. jonesii and S. alabamensis widely sought after and carefully cultivated solely because of their stunning beauty? I think not. What can we do with a "maybe" alabamense? Grow it with the hope that its identity can someday be proven?
As to the "pure gene-pool" ship having sailed, in most cases there remain some verifiable members of these pools in the wild and/or in cultivation. This has only been through the diligent and disciplined efforts of some growers and conservationists to make and keep it so. Unfortunately even the best growers loose plants or labels or data and the numbers of many unique wild types continue to decline and disappear. Thus the fewer remaining examples become more essential and valuable to our understanding, and the preservation of their data becomes more critical.
We are each temporary custodians of our plants. At some point they (hopefully) will be passed on to other growers. I dearly hope they are passed on with their entire potential intact and undiminished.
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