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April 12, 2021
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New England Carnivorous Plant Society

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"The mission of the New England Carnivorous Plant Society shall be to share, to gain knowledge of, and to achieve expertise in all phases of growing, education, appreciation, and conservation of carnivorous plants in both culture and in native habitats."

AnnouncementsWhat's New
NECPS April meeting

The April meeting of the NECPS will be held on April 17th at Rolling Green Nursery, 64 Breakfast Hill Rd. Greenland, NH at 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM (Directions).

At last month's meeting NECPS President Dave Sacket did a surprise giveaway of H.minor heterodoxa during during his talk on Heliamphora!

NECPS President Dave Sackett will be giving a Bog Building Workshop.

Also planned is a silent auction.

Looking to Spice Up Your Plant Shelf? Carnivorous Plants are the Answer

I've noticed a trend with my friends in the past year: Bloodsucking creatures are popping up on their windowsills.

But this isn't some Anne Rice novel brought to life-the "creatures" are pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, and, of course, Venus flytraps. Carnivorous plants are gaining popularity because they're the perfect pandemic pets that won't have you racked with guilt when you return to your office.

"Houseplants are even more of a thing than they were before the pandemic," says Jena Lee, an art appraiser living in Los Angeles's Echo Park neighborhood, who grows the pitcher plants known as Sarracenia purpurea, or Carolina Yellow Jacket, as well as Venus flytraps, sourced from Artemisia Nursery. "Plants give people something to focus on and care for while also improving the overall aesthetic and vibe of their home. Carnies [a common nickname for carnivorous plants among fans] require more attention than your average houseplant, but also provide a bit of macabre entertainment."

For Michael Szesze, a retired science teacher who owns Carnivorous Plant Nursery in Smithsburg, Maryland, the trend toward carnivorous plants has provided a sales bump during the pandemic. "We have had a nice increase in interest and sales of our carnivorous plants," he says. "Some folks do mention COVID cabin fever, but more express interest in these curious plants. The whole notion of plants with an attitude that actually are adapted to our human sense of the weird drives many hobbyists."

Read the Full Article Here

One-fourth of carnivorous plant species at risk of extinction, study finds

Swimming across a crocodile-filled river full and dodging venomous snakes in search of rare carnivorous plants is all in a day's work for Dr. Adam Cross, restoration ecologist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Cross conducts much of his fieldwork in Western Australia's Kimberley region, where he sidesteps deadly wildlife and endures broiling 104-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in suffocating humidity in search of elusive carnivorous plants.

A quarter of the world's 860 known carnivorous plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of climate change and threats like land clearing and poaching, according to a study Cross and his colleagues recently published in Global Ecology and Conservation.

Carnivorous plants are unique because they gain nutrients from prey. They mostly lure and eat insects, though some can also derive nutrients from small animals. The popular Venus flytrap is a well-known example, luring small insects such as flies to its open leaves with a sweet nectar scent; once the fly brushes up against a trigger hair, Venus snaps the leaves shut, trapping the fly, which it then dissolves with digestive enzymes.

Sensitive and specialized, carnivorous plants typically grow in "nutrient-impoverished habitats where carnivory offers a competitive advantage," according to the Cross report.

"Carnivorous plants, more so than almost any other group of plant, occupy extremely narrow ecological niches because carnivory is basically a strategy that has evolved to allow plants to be competitive in typically nutrient-poor soils and in habitats where other plants often find it very challenging to be competitive," Cross says.

Read the Full Article Here

Got News?
Have an idea for a presentation or demonstration? If there is a meeting or other event that the NECPS will be participating in, or some other carnivorous plant related news item that you would like to share? Please forward the information to the Webmaster so that it can be included here.

Missing our newsletter? Has your email address changed? You can update your email address or other contact information by visiting the Contact page.

Membership Dues are payable at or before the January meeting.

New protein helps carnivorous plants sense and trap their prey

The brush of an insect's wing is enough to trigger a Venus flytrap to snap shut, but the biology of how these plants sense and respond to touch is still poorly understood, especially at the molecular level. Now, a new study by Salk and Scripps Research scientists identifies what appears to be a key protein involved in touch sensitivity for flytraps and other carnivorous plants.

The findings, published < b>March 16, 2021, in the journal eLife, help explain a critical process that has long puzzled botanists. This could help scientists better understand how plants of all kinds sense and respond to mechanical stimulation, and could also have a potential application in medical therapies that mechanically stimulate human cells such as neurons.

"We know that plants sense touch," says co-corresponding author Joanne Chory, director of Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology. "The Venus flytrap, which has a very fast response to touch, provides an opportunity to study a sensory modality that historically has been poorly understood."

Scientists have long been fascinated by Venus flytraps and carnivorous plants; Charles Darwin devoted an entire book to them. But while previous studies have looked at the structural mechanism of their bizarre leaves, not much is known about how they work at the cellular level. That's partly because flytraps are challenging to study. They're extremely slow to grow, and the flytrap genome had not been sequenced until recently, opening the door for deeper genetic research.

Read the Full Article Here

World Carnivorous Plant Day

The ICPS is proud to promote the first ever World Carnivorous Plant Day, to be held on Wednesday, May 5th 2021. In lieu of the international conference in Himeji, Japan, World Carnivorous Plant Day 2021 will serve as the preeminent carnivorous plant event of the year. This day-long web event will stand in for the delayed ICPS conference. The conference has been rescheduled to occur in Japan in 2022.

World Carnivorous Plant Day was first brought to the attention of the ICPS Board of Directors in 2020 by Krzysztof Banas of Poland. Krzysztof envisioned a day that brought carnivorous plants into the spotlight of public awareness and education.

To feature these wonderful plants, the ICPS will be hosting a number of online events, including a logo design contest from January to February 12th, a photo contest beginning on February 15th, and a free and publicly-accessible web-based conference

Organized by the International Carnivorous Plant Society to celebrate its 50th year of operation, this "online conference" will bring together presenters from around the world. Featuring a global selection of botanists, horticulturalists, and other enthusiasts, these presentations will be a platform for these experts from all over the world to share their knowledge of carnivorous plants and experiences with them in a universally accessible way.

While the logistics and format of the event are still in development, the team is working to find a way to facilitate a Q&A session with as many presenters as possible in their own time-zone.

Presenters are asked to present a subject that is particularly inspiring to them in their career with CPs - a discovery of a species, a recollection of an important event, or even witnessing the devastation of CP habitat in the wild. These topics are suggestions, intended to show the value of carnivorous plant science and horticulture, and the community that fosters it, directly to the public. Non-English speaking presenters are especially invited to present in their own languages for their own audiences. Please spread the word about this upcoming event, and reference this page for further updates in the future!

Read the Full Article Here

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