I Think I Swallowed A Bug

This is Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok,' a small cultivar of the American Pitcher plant. Pitcher plants are one of the few popular houseplants that are native to North America, and certainly one of the rare carnivorous plants to come from this continent. Author and owner of California Carnivores nursery Peter D'Amato covers the amazing natural history of this species extensively in his book Savage Gardens.

And an unidentified Pinguicula, the Mexican Butterwort. Mine is from Mexico anyway; there are "Pings" from several different climes. They are also carnivorous, secreting special sticky liquids from their leaves when bugs land, then digesting them slowly. It is for this reason that I have given my Ping the same "The Almighty Sarlacc."

In their radially symmetrical shape, they also remind me of Nicholas Harberd's drawings of the thale-cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) in his excellent book Seed to Seed. As you can see, the flower stalk is already up, and the local gnat population is being decimated. The flowers are stunning; this picture was taken at night when the bloom first opened.

Because they eat bugs, Pings require little to no fertilization. One thing they do require is distilled water; tap water or even filtered water won't do.* Pings enter a dormant stage in winter whereupon their leaves become more succulent, and Sarracenias go completely dormant in winter. Mine haven't entered dormancy, but Peter D'Amato was kind enough to advise me in this regard. His suggestion was to keep my Ping slightly moist and allow it to change forms when it is ready; Sarracenias typically begin their growth cycle anew in February.

Last week it was orchids, this week it's carnivores. My plant love springs eternal.

*You can buy distilled water from your local grocery store; it is often kept with or labeled as "infant drinking water." One gallon should run you about one dollar.

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