I’ve always been fascinated with carnivores. Ever since I was a child, I was involved in gardening with my grandparents. When I learned that carnivorous plant existed, I was determined to obtain and grow them. I first learned of carnivores when I saw them on TV, watching Nature on PBS. I also remember seeing a segment on carnivorous plants on the kids science show Mr. Wizards World back when it used to be aired on Nickelodeon.
Back then I only had access to the pale and wilted moldy venus fly traps at the local hardware store. The plants were located on the bottom shelf of course. In the dark. Behind the paints. Directions to care for these things instructed me to “feed hamburger”, allow only “4-6 hours of sunlight a day”, “plant in rich loamy soil” that “included leaf mold” and “keep under 60F.” Horrid I tell you. Pretty much, for us carnivore-heads, we’ve all been there.
When I first saw the pitcher plant on TV, I was just going nuts. I HAD TO HAVE ONE. JUST ONE. I must of been about 6 or 7 years old at the time. I didn’t have access to any pitcher plants so I made my own. How you ask? Forced evolution. Kinda.
My grandfather had onions growing in the garden. The large kinds that were as tall if not taller than me at the time. I noticed their tubular leaf structure and in my childhood wisdom and creativity figured out that Sarracenia must of evolved from these plants.
Now the photos I took today were of some green onions I have growing in the yard, so these aren’t as large and magnificent as the pitcher plants I created before… but for illustrative purposes, it will do.
[Onions. Where “Sarracenia must of evolved from.”]
So what did I do? I selected large onions leaves to create the pitcher. I took my scissors and cut the tube at the desired length and angle. Viola! There’s my pitcher! To help it evolve faster, I used a spray bottle to fill it with water. Ok. Now how about digestive fluid?
[Pitcher plant in creation.]
Uh… so again, my childhood creativity kicked in and I spat into the pitcher. Yeah. That’s right. I spat. I spitted. Yumm-O! My idea was that the saliva would help digest the insects that it would catch. That onion smelled enough anyway, and I figured bugs would be drawn to the scent. I helped to feed the plant by finding bugs and placing it into the watery-spit filled abyss… Oh those were good times indeed. My addiction in its early stages yielding some really creative results…