Carnivorous Plant Newsletter
Volume 35, Number 3, September 2006, pages 68-69; Back Cover
Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’
Submitted: 21 March 2005
This plant was originated by Thomas K. Hayes in 1997, and is a selection of Sarracenia x wrigleyana (i.e. S. leucophylla x psittacina). On 24 June 2002, I decided it was worth cultivar status and nominated the currently proposed cultivar name for the plant.
Sarracenia x wrigleyana is an uncommon, but naturally occurring hybrid found in U.S. Gulf Coast savannahs (I have seen this hybrid or introgressant examples of it with its parent S. leucophylla, in Washington and Baldwin counties, Alabama and Okaloosa County, Florida, USA ).
Sarracenia ‘Chagall’ produces a profusion of intensely colored leaves on quickly-forming multiple crowns. Narrow, upright, apple green lower pitchers traced with pale red venation flare into closed, club-like hoods exhibiting extremely large areoles laced with fine red netting (see Back Cover). Areoles on the uppermost portions of the pitcher are brilliant white, softening to pale pink in lower portions of the upper pitcher. The overall coloration of each pitcher is reminiscent of stained glass.
White and green coloration, large, closed hoods and an upright habit predominate in this cultivar, distinguishing it from the only other registered S. x wrigleyana cultivar, Bob Hanrahan’s Sarracenia ‘Scarlet Belle’, as well as from non-named clones of this hybrid.
Sarracenia ‘Chagall’ must be propagated by vegetative means in order to retain the characteristics of the cultivar.
I have chosen this cultivar name because the pitcher coloration evokes the work of Marc Chagall (1887-1985), the Russian-born French-Jewish painter and stained glass artist.
-- Jay Lechtman • Mclean , VA • USA
Back Cover: Sarracenia ‘Chagall’ flower and pitchers. Photographs by Jay Lechtman.
Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’
Submitted: 23 February 2005
Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ is the first cultivar for the species Drosera rotundifolia. Although Drosera rotundifolia is a popular plant, its cultivation is problematic for many because of its dormancy requirements. It is important to have an easy to grow cultivar for this sundew since it is such a familiar plant to so many of us today, as it has been for eight centuries! After all, we should not forget that this species is the original “Sun-dew,” as Darwin called it during his extensive studies of the species. In my selection of a cultivar name I chose to honor Charles Darwin, the icon of evolution theory, because he showed particular fondness towards this species. Much of Darwin’s 1875 book, Insectivorous Plants, was devoted to the plant.
I had previously distributed the cultivar under the unregistered name “Evergrow.” A number of people felt this name was unsuitable; in March of 2005 I proposed the cultivar name “Charles Darwin” to other growers, who overwhelmingly favored it as being especially fitting. In Darwin’s time, the belief that species were immutable was commonly held. Darwin disproved this using evidence based in part from the experiences of professional breeders. Darwin first made use of the breeder’s term “artificial selection” in coining the term “natural selection.” Similarly, this new cultivar has diverged from the more typical D. rotundifolia by means of selective breeding.
Although D. rotundifolia may not be as clearly variable as Darwin’s finches, there are certainly different ecotypes to be found. Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ was created by hybridizing two different parent forms of D. rotundifolia naturally found in California which I had originally collected in July, 1997. One parent (from Gasquet, Del Norte Co.; a lowland site) had a weak dormancy requirement, while the other was a larger plant (Willow Lake, N. Plumas Co.; a highland site). I had been cross pollinating these in an attempt to develop a plant more desirable for cultivation; in October 2001 I germinated a plant that exceeded all my expectations.
Cultivate D. rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ as you would the tropical form of D. anglica from Hawaii . Like the Hawaiian plant, D. rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ grows continuously under typical indoor terrarium cultivation. Grown outdoors in temperate regions the plant will produce a protective winter bud as normal for D. rotundifolia.
Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ seed is vigorous and viable, and germinates readily without a cold stratification period. In fact, if the seed is not promptly harvested and dried it often germinates while still in the seed capsule and then rots. While this makes it easy to sow the already germinating seedlings, it complicates the procedure of harvesting seed for storage. Plants flower readily without having to enter a dormancy period first.
Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’ has proven superior in cultivation to all known natural forms. In many growth trials, growers have remarked that it performs especially well indoors. Cultivation is easy via leaf cuttings. Furthermore, the cultivar’s three hallmark traits, seed germination without cold stratification, year-round growth indoors, and ability to flower without having first gone through a dormancy period, are also preserved when the plant is propagated by seed, so the cultivar is available through the ICPS Seed Bank. I would like to thank all the many people who helped in the growing trials of this plant and also the many who helped me in deciding upon the great name, Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’!
-- Ivan Snyder • Hermosa Beach , CA• USA
Figure 1: Drosera rotundifolia ‘Charles Darwin’. Photograph by Chris Hind.