Tag Archives: glow

Glowing Nepenthes: “Sabre” and “Song of Melancholy”

Carnivorous plants are badass. Beauty, seduction (um, yeah that’s a NSFW link), devious trapping prowess… acoustic echo location skills, and even glow in the dark skills just to name a few – they never cease to amaze. Heck, carnivorous plant skills even rival THIS DUDE’S impressive list of skills. Anyway, ever since I saw this in Nat Geo, I’ve been inspired to shoot around with these plants in 254nm UV light.

You can see some of my other posts here: Nepenthes: In Different Light, Red Queen Glows Blue, Nepenthes robcantleyi in UV Light.

Recently, the amazing Paul Barden sent over a few more beautiful botanical gems (THANK YOU PAUL!!) and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of putting them under some black light and getting a long exposure going. Now, this isn’t your typical black light I’m using. These photos are shot using a specific 254nm wavelength UV light as I’ve referenced in my other posts above.

Check these beauties out! You can mouse over the image to see them in natural light. 🙂


Nepenthes “Sabre” under 254nm UV Light.
144 second exposure, f 5.0, 50mm. Mouse over to see the plant in normal light.

Nepenthes “Sabre” under 254nm UV Light.
116 second exposure, f 5.0, 50mm. Mouse over to see the plant in normal light.

Nepenthes “Song of Melancholy under 254nm UV Light.
24 second exposure, f 6.3, 50mm. Mouse over to see the plant in normal light.

Nepenthes robcantleyi in UV Light

As seen in this previous post, my young Nepenthes robcantleyi has finally put out a decent pitcher in the new tank conditions. It’s been a while since I last tinkered around with the 254nm short wave UV light as seen with the Red Queen here, and some other Nepenthes here; so I wanted to try it out with this new pitcher. I ran a 90 second exposure to really get the glow to show. The resulting shot was hauntingly beautiful.

Nepenthes robcantleyi under 254nm UV Light.
90 second exposure, f 9.0, 50mm. Mouse over to see the plant in normal light.

The Red Queen Glows Blue

New Nepenthes

Recently my fellow carnie-homie Kinjie Coe contacted me saying that he was sending some stuff my way. Shoot – I was surprised to come home to not one, but *two* boxes full of some very rad Nepenthes. (Dude!! Thanks so much, Kinjie!) One of the plants that he sent my was a Nepenthes tiveyi “Red Queen” – such an amazing beauty. Since I was at home and it had a nice pitcher attached to it, I decided to photograph her majesty – in regular light AND short wave UV light. Check out this post for some more photos Nepenthes under short wave 254nm UV light, as well as this Vine video. By the way, for those asking, *yes* I’ve tried Sarracenia under the light, but there really wasn’t much “glow” to those babies. I haven’t had time for a proper UV light shoot at the greenhouse (I actually shot the Nepenthes in my bathroom), but will still try to shoot the lack of glowing from Sarracenia sooner or later. Perhaps I need another lamp to make the Sarracenia glow blue, but I don’t feel compelled to drop a few hundred for a new UV lamp at the moment. Anyway, I captured the below photos using a long exposure – 30 seconds at f2.8, 50 mm. Mouse over the photo to see the photo under regular light.


Nepenthes tiveyi “Red Queen”

Nepenthes tiveyi “Red Queen”

Nepenthes tiveyi “Red Queen”

Nepenthes: In Different Light

Ever since this article on glowing carnivorous plants was written, I’ve always wanted to try photographing the plants under UV light. I’ve tried various types of black lights, but most of those lights didn’t really produce that visible glowing reaction that I was looking for in the plants. Turns out I needed a short wave UV light. Scroll down a bit in this wiki to see what I’m talking about when I talk UV wavelength in nanometers, or “nm” for short.

At first I tried out a black light LED flashlight, as well as a common fluorescent black lights bulb; both of which I found at my local hardware store. Those mostly bathed the plant in this purple ambient light and did not create the visible glow I was looking for. I would guess that those lights were emitting in the 380-390 nm range. Next I bought a light off eBay that said it was 365 nm. Ehhh… that was a little better than the previous lights that I had, but didn’t quite have that glowing “oomph.” After doing more research and digging, I ran across this post on the International Carnivorous Plant Society forum and from there I started looking for a 254 nm UV lamp of sorts. I found one that was relatively inexpensive in comparison to some of the other laboratory grade UV lights out there. ($50 vs. $300+ lights.)

I took two photos of each of the photographed plants below. One under regular light and the other under 254 nm UV light, both of which you can see below. Mouse over the photographs below to see the photo in regular light. And yes, I also noticed that some Nepenthes were “brighter” than the others under this light. (By the way, check out my Vine video. The Vine link might not work in Firefox, but you can view in Chrome and IE browsers…)

I haven’t had much time at night to work with the Sarracenia just yet, but from what I’ve noticed there hasn’t been much fluorescence that is visible to the human eye with this particular lamp that I have. I’ll try to get some photos next time with the Sarracenia.

Photos below are 20 – 25 second exposures of the plants under the 254nm uv light. Mouse over the images to see the plant in regular light.

Nepenthes “Benevolence”

Nepenthes ventricosa x tiveyi

Nepenthes “Song of Melancholy”

Nepenthes “Enigma”

Nepenthes “Troth”


Special thanks to Paul Barden and Kinjie Coe for being my “mentors” in Nepenthes growing! Thank you both so much for your patience and generosity … y’all got me HOOKED!


Sarracenia "Orange Glow" x 'Adrian Slack'Sarracenia “Orange Glow” x ‘Adrian Slack’
A curious creature with a quiet porcelain like color scheme.

Sarracenia “Orange Glow” x ‘Adrian Slack’

In 2009 I crossed S. moorei “Orange Glow” and S. ‘Adrian Slack’. Not sure exactly what I was expecting by crossing two moorei plants together, but I can say that breeding projects involving S. ‘Adrian Slack’ have yielded some fascinating (aaaaand… even *not* so fascinating) results. I’m somewhat partial to the select youngster in the photograph below for its delicate and faded pastel color scheme. Don’t let it fool you though. This plant is still a hungry cylindrical savage.

Sarracenia "Orange Glow" x 'Adrian Slack'
Sarracenia “Orange Glow” x ‘Adrian Slack’

Sarracenia "Orange Glow" x 'Adrian Slack'Sarracenia “Orange Glow” x ‘Adrian Slack’

Brocchinia reducta

Brocchinia reductaBrocchinia reducta
The setting sun gives this carnivore a gentle glow in the late November afternoon.