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November 12, 2019
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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 December Meeting

The December NECPS meeting will be held on Saturday, December 7th at 12:30 PM at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center (directions).

We will be holding our Annual Holiday Gathering and Yankee Swap!

For those who have never attended a Yankee Swap before, all you need to participate in the swap is to bring a carnivorous plant related gift, gift-wrapped and valued at about $10 or more. All Society members bringing gifts are welcome to take part! The Yankee Swap is lots of fun and can sometimes be more cutthroat than the usual silent auctions. You never know what will happen, or what you may end up with until the very end.

Refreshments will be available as usual and members are encouraged to bring additional food and snacks to add to the party!

Pitcher Plants Have Been Quietly Snacking on Baby Salamanders

Pitcher plants-carnivorous flora that can be found across the world-have long been known to dine on living things, usually small insects and spiders. These plants have occasionally been spotted preying on larger vertebrates, but scientists believed these were rare occurrences. Canadian researchers were therefore quite surprised when they repeatedly observed pitcher plants snacking on baby salamanders.

In August 2018, Alex Smith, a biologist at the University of Guelph, was conducting field work with a team of undergraduates in Ontario's Algonquin Park, a vast stretch of hills, forests and lakes. Smith peered into a pitcher plant, expecting to find some small insects decaying in the liquid that pools inside the plant's pitcher-shaped leaves. Instead, "I see a juvenile yellow spotted salamander," Smith tells CBC Radio. "And I say, 'WTF?'"

Smith consulted with Patrick Moldowan, an ecologist at the University of Toronto who studies the salamander biology. Moldowan recalled that a 2017 survey had observed eight salamanders-six still living and two dead-inside pitcher plants living in a naturally acidic, fishless bog in Algonquin. Pitcher plants have evolved to thrive in such hostile environments. Bog soils are poor in nutrients like nitrogen, so pitcher plants use nectar to entice prey, which get caught in the plant's liquid pool and are eventually broken down by digestive enzymes.

Or read the article here

This Carnivorous Plant Invaded New York. That May Be Its Only Hope.

Across their kayaks, the three men passed the green shoot back and forth. Occasionally, one of them would cradle it in one palm and bring a hand lens to it with the other, inspecting the carnivorous plant that was their bounty.

By day's end, the group - Seth Cunningham and Michael Tessler, biologists at the American Museum of Natural History, and John Thompson, coordinator of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership - filled eight vials with the plant, Aldrovanda vesiculosa, also known as the waterwheel.

The plant shouldn't be in this small, privately owned pond in Orange County, N.Y., and it presents an ecological conundrum.

Around the world, the waterwheel is going extinct. But from summer through late fall, the carnivorous, rootless, wetland-loving plant is plentiful in this swampy body of water near the Catskill Mountains.

"It's either site zero for saving a species," Dr. Tessler said, "or site zero for a really big problem."

Think of the waterwheel as an underwater Venus flytrap. Its whorled shoots are tiny, typically shorter than eight inches and less than an inch thick. But for a plant, its diet is impressive: seed shrimp, shell-less crustaceans, insect larvae, and occasionally even tadpoles and small fish.

View 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.

George Newman featured on New Hampsire Chronicle

Our own George Newman was recently featured on New Hampshire Chronicle. We had our visit to his house this past July.

A Carnivorous Plant Collector

Carnivorous Plant Study Captures Universal Rules of Leaf Making

Leaves display a remarkable range of forms from flat sheets with simple outlines to the cup-shaped traps found in carnivorous plants. A general question in developmental and evolutionary biology is how tissues shape themselves to create the diversity of forms we find in nature such as leaves, flowers, hearts and wings.

Study of leaves has led to progress in understanding the mechanisms that produce the simpler, flatter forms. But it's been unclear what lies behind the more complex curved leaf forms of carnivorous plants. Previous studies using the model species Arabidopsis thaliana which has flat leaves revealed the existence of a polarity field running from the base of the leaf to the tip, a kind of inbuilt cellular compass which orients growth.

To test if an equivalent polarity field might guide growth of highly curved tissues, researchers analysed the cup-shaped leaf traps of the aquatic carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba, commonly known as the humped bladderwort.

Read the Full Article Here

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