The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

A Shadow over North Carolina

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Next day:
I met with Frank around 7:30 the next morning. (We joked about the ticks--he had gotten them too, but as it turned out later, no chiggers for him!) Frank took me back to the field, but instead of going to The Green Swamp, we headed off to some other places that had particularly nice populations of Dionaea along the roads.

As you can see from the photograph above, Frank knows what he is talking about! We stopped at several roadside patches of Dionaea that were intensely pigmented red. Notice that in this plant, the red pigmentation spreads to the petiole. The edges of the trap are not pigmented, but the marginal spines are.

Frank pointed out the presence of red monitoring flags in the Dionaea patch. Unfortunately, these were evil flags. You see, they were inserted by a local person who drives around looking for roadside populations of flowering Dionaea. Then, he pays crews to come back later in the season (when the plants have set seed), and these crews cut all the seed stalks off the plants. He sells countless thousands of seeds each year. (I have seen the advertisements.) All this is illegal, of course.

It was interesting--when we stopped to look at the Dionaea, if the monitoring flags were present, there would be absolutely no fruiting stalks--they had all been cut off. But if we stopped at unflagged spots that Frank knew about, we would see lots of fruiting stalks.

Of course, at every stop I threw the poacher's monitoring flags into the back of Frank's pickup truck. It was an impossible battle, I know, but I had to do something.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005