Conference 2004, Lyon, France

Lyon from the Basilica of Fourvière.

Restaurants on place Neuve-Saint-Jean, in Vieux-Lyon (Lyon Old Town) setting up for lunch.

Lyon, what a fantastic town to visit! The Renaissance era buildings. The cobblestone pedestrian streets lined with excellent restaurants. Almost no American tourists. You spend the evenings sitting in the street at a nice Buchon enjoying the cuisine Lyonnaise, drinking Côtes du Rhône wine, watching the people go by. One night it was clowns, another musicians. It is very obvious that the people of Lyon love their city and enjoy taking advantage of the amenities.

One of the major amenities is the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The first morning of the conference was at the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The park was sponsoring an exhibition of carnivorous plants that coincided with the conference. The Orangerie had exhibits and plant sales. In a greenhouse nearby they had a spectacular carnivorous plant display. It was an amazing collection of plants. Most people would be blown away seeing one blooming size Drosera regia. They had a dozen. There were huge clumps of Cephalotus, large numbers of various Pinguicula species, pygmy Drosera, all the Sarracenia species, many blooming Utricularia. We also got small group tours behind the scenes with staff of the park. Lunch for conference attendees was at the Orangerie. It was an amazing spread of treats.

Central part of the carnivorous plant display at Parc de la Tête d’Or. On the right, just beyond the Sarracenia oreophila you can see the Drosera regia in full bloom. The white flowers on the left are Drosera binata.

Artwork and exhibits in the Orangerie.

Andreas Wistuba selling plants in the Orangerie.

Philippe Namour. Conference Organizer.

David Ahrens chatting with Tina and Colin Clayton in the Orangerie.

Rob Cantley

The conference continued at the Salle Rameau, a 25minute walk and subway ride from the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The Salle Rameau is a quaint theatre a few blocks from place Terreaux, one of the main public squares of Lyon.

The Friday afternoon session of the first day focused on Heliamphora. Andreas Wistuba and Gert Hoogenstrijd gave travel logs of their explorations of the tepuis of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil. Andreas helicoptered to mountains that can't be visited any other way. At some tepuis it is extremely difficult to get around because of the extreme topography--one sandstone plateau looked like a heavily crevassed glacier with the plants at the bottom of the crevasses. Gert concentrated on the local ecology and human impacts. Philippe Namour gave a talk on the functional ecology of the Guyana Highlands and Romauld Anfraix showed 3-D slides from Auyan Tepui.

The banquet was held Friday evening at the Lyon town hall off place Terreaux. The Hôtel de Ville is a magnificent building and tourist destination. The room we were in was right out of pre-revolution France--very ornate. The dinner was very elaborate finger food like the lunch. It made for an interesting group dynamics. If you stood and talked too long you could starve to death. So people would dive into the crowd around the food tables, grab what food they could hold (no plates), then find someone else to talk to until the tummy alarm said to dive in and try the new batch of treats on the tables. Excellent food. Excellent wine. Excellent deserts. Excellent company.

The second day of the conference kicked off with a keynote lecture by Lebomir Adamec on his Aldrovanda introduction projects in the Czech Republic. It was very interesting seeing the year-to-year variation in the bog and plants. John Brittnacher gave a talk on conservation of endangered Sarracenia species in the south eastern USA. The talk was characterized as depressing because the biggest issue for these species at the moment is theft of plants. Romauld Anfraix showed slides from his trip to see Nepenthes edwardsiana. Terre Golembiewski gave us an update on her Weird, Wild, Wacky, and Wonderful World of Carnivorous Plants workshop for children. The class is very hands on with lots of activities to keep the children interested and learning about the natural world. Francis Muller talked about French bogs and Collette Vintejoux gave a very interesting presentation of the ultrastructure and function of Utricularia digestive glands.

After lunch on the second day, the conference continued with a presentation by Siggi Hartmeyer of selections from his carnivorous plant DVDs. Oliver Gluch gave a presentation on the Pinguicula of the south eastern USA. Bartosz Plachno and Aline Raynal each had fantastic photos and movies of Utricularia and Genlisea traps. Some were scanning electron micrographs showing fine details, others were movies attempting to show Utricularia traps working. Even for the high speed cameras, the traps were too fast, amazingly fast. Fabio D'Alessi's presentation was on carnivorous plants growing on serpentine mountains in Newfoundland. The rocky soil was too toxic for "normal" plants but the carnivores looked extremely happy!

On Sunday the conference started out with Joachim Nerz giving a presentation on the Nepenthes of Sumatra followed by Heiko Rischer on the Asian mainland species. The variety was amazing as well as the differences within the same species between different locations. I was struck by the number of different Nepenthes species that look like toilets. Joachim could have given a whole talk on them in comparison with the various toilet styles used around the world. Hua Yuejin showed a cute video produced by his school in China of local Nepenthes and insects being trapped. Laurence Gaume-Vail talked about the physical aspects of how Nepenthes traps work. This included pictures showing how wax in the traps works to keep insects from climbing out--it gums up the hairs on their feet that allow them to walk on vertical surfaces. Without any traction they fall into the trap. Hongqi Li talked about fossils from Liaoning, China, that look like squashed Heliamphora or Sarracenia.

In the afternoon Jan Schlauer talked about using "secondary" plant compounds (quinones, terpenes, etc.) to aid in the classification of carnivorous plants. Generally related plants produce similar profiles of secondary compounds. Doug Darnowski talked about tuberous Drosera forming tubers on their leaves and other project he and his students are working on. Fabio D'Alessi gave an impassioned talk about keeping detailed records and labels of our species plants so that genetic variation can be maintained. The conference at the Salle Rameau ended with Romauld Anfraix again showing this 3D slides from 3-D slides from Auyan Tepui.

Francis Muller on French bog and mires.
Collette Vintejoux on Utricularia glands and ultrastructure.

Bartosz Plachno on Genlisea ultrastructure.

Laurence Gaume-Vial on trapping mechanisms in Nepenthes.

The field trip on Monday was excellent. We headed to the French Alps. The first stop was at an out-of-the-way rural road cut to see the rare, endemic Pinguicula grandiflora. The second site was a remarkable mountain bog with Utricularia minor, Pinguicula vulgaris and Drosera rotundifolia. After having seen many Wisconsin bogs, it was a special delight to see a French equivalent. Our third and last stop was to a "bog creation" which included Sarracenia purpurea and S. flava. And, of course, a nice, sit-down lunch midway through the day. They really did an excellent job on the tour.

©International Carnivorous Plant Society

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