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January 19, 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 January Meeting

The next meeting of the NECPS will be held on January 19 at 12:30 PM at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, Providence, RI (Directions).

This month's meeting will feature our annual, and highly anticipated, Nepenthes Cutting & Propagation Workshop led by NECPS President Dave Sackett

Members are encouraged to bring in an overgrown Nepenthes or two that need cutting back. The success of the Cutting Workshop depends on having our members bring in their overgrown plants!

First there will be a class on taking vine cuttings of Nepenthes and on the "how and why" of cutting propagation. Afterwards, using the plants supplied by members and materials supplied by the NECPS, we will take multiple cuttings of plants for each member to take home and grow! We hope that we can all expand our collections, and make sure that plants are always available to society members.

Click here to see a video of last year's show!
All members will get FREE Nepenthes cuttings to take home!

The NECPS is looking for a new design for the tee shirts. January 19th meeting would be the deadline for any submission(s). The design can be labeled with artist signature but should not be copy-written. We plan to vote on our favorite by the January meeting and will plan to roll out on tee shirts for April 2019. For Submissions contact Shaun Montminy.

The Boston Flower Show

Plans are once again to have a booth at the Boston Flower Show. The show will be held March 13 through the 17 at the Seaport World Trade Center,200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA

If you would like to help out with our booth or display at the Boston Flower Show, please contact Emmi Kurosawa, cc Shaun Montminy if anyone has plant donations. We need hungry VFT's as we are going to try a live feeding event this year!

The Plants That Made Me Quit My Job

Emmi Kurposawa's paintings are being featured on A thousand Different Colors, the creative community for everyone.

I was working at a pharmaceutical company for the longest time, saving lives and making a happy living for myself. Well, until I met "carnivorous plants" at the Boston Flower Show. They were weird, wild and wonderful! They come in different shapes and colors. Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundews, bladderworts, and corkscrew plants. Each has developed a unique way of attracting, capturing, and digesting insects. I was completely awed by their singularity and beauty. After joining the New England Carnivorous Plant Society who displayed the carnivorous plants at the Boston Flower Show, the size of my collection increased exponentially. The more I learned about them, the more I got pulled into the sinister and mysterious world of carnivorous plants. Next thing you know, I quit my job, and started painting botanical art as one of ways to express my passion for carnivorous plants. As I studied each plant more carefully with the accuracy required for botanical art, my curiosity about these plants became inexorable. I now study carnivorous plants in a graduate program, working on my PhD. For better or worse, my obsession with carnivorous plants has changed my life!

Read The Fully Story

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.

Venus Flytrap in Health and Medicine

If you or someone you know has lymphoma, you may have encountered products containing Venus Flytrap extract that claim to have anticancer properties. While this marvel of creation certainly deserves attention, there is no evidence that Venus flytrap extracts can be used to treat cancer, and side effects have been reported with its use, so buyer beware.

Where Does Venus Flytrap Grow?

Children and adults, alike, can't help but be fascinated by this perennial plant that traps insects, then consumes them for their rich source of nitrogen. Seemingly exotic, the Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, is actually a North American plant native to low-lying swampy areas of the southeastern United States.

Closeup on the Plant Itself

It is an herbaceous perennial that grows up to 17 inches high, with leaves about three to five inches long, with two layers modified at the end to form the trap.

The leaf sides have 15 to 20 bristles on the very edge, and three of the sensing bristles on the surface - the sensitive bristles, when stimulated by a hapless insect or the tip of a pencil, snap shut with the bristles locking closed.

The trapped insect is digested over about 6 days, after which the trap slowly re-opens.

Is it Helpful in Cancer?

Multiple sources indicate a lack of evidence in support of the use of Venus flytrap extract for treating cancer.

The American Cancer Society states, "Available scientific evidence does not support claims that extract from the Venus flytrap plant is effective in treating skin cancer or any other type of cancer. Some side effects have been reported with its use."

The cancer society states, "Most of the studies done on the herbal extract were conducted by the physician who patented the drug Carnivora, who also has a large financial stake in a clinic that administers the drug and in the company that manufactures the drug." They also note that supporters also claim that Carnivora is effective for treating colitis, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neurodermatitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV, and certain types of herpes.

The bottom line, for now, appears to be that, although animal and laboratory studies show promise, further studies are necessary to determine whether the results of existing studies apply to humans. If such benefits exist, the active compounds may be produced using biotechnology. A recent review of compounds isolated from natural plants or plant in vitro cultures included plumbagin, a compound found in venus flytraps, among potential anti-cancer agents that could be produced in laboratory cultures.

Read The Full Story

Venus Flytraps Kill With Chemicals Like Those From Lightning Bolts

PORTLAND, OREGON: Venus flytraps have a well-known way of dispatching their victims: They snare inquisitive insects that brush up against trigger hairs in their fly-trapping pods. But now, physicists have discovered that the triggering process may involve the release of a cascade of exotic chemicals similar to the whiff of ozone that tingles your nose after a lightning bolt.

To study this process, scientists used an electrical generator to ionize air into a "cold plasma," which they then gently blew toward a flytrap in their lab.

Normally, the flytrap's closure is caused by an electrical signal created when two or more trigger hairs are brushed. But highly reactive chemicals in the plasma stream such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and ozone had the same effect, even when they were blown at the pods too gently to trigger them by motion, they reported here last week at the annual Gaseous Electronics Conference.

It's a useful finding because the types of reactive oxygen and nitrogen molecules in cold plasmas play a major role in biological processes, including cell signaling. But normally, such processes have to be studied through complex analyses of cell cultures. With the Venus flytrap, they can be observed directly, when the pods snap shut.

Understanding such processes, the scientists say, could help biomedical researchers and aerospace engineers create a new generation of "intelligent materials" that can use similar signaling processes to change shape as needed, much as the Venus flytrap reflexively snaps shut when it senses its prey. It's an open and shut case for new research, including a more detailed examination of exactly how the various parts of the plant know how to spring shut at just the right moment.

Read the Full Story here.

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