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Thread: Favi's Heli Thread

  1. #17
    Maiden's Avatar
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    "Full blood red coloration on a Heliamphora simply is not evidence that the plant has reached *its* optimal state. It is evidence that the plant is getting more light than it can profitably use, so the plant is reflecting that energy away, in order to protect itself."

    Are you sure of that? Because i blast my helis like a crazy. Its the only way i found to color up my burgundy black the good purple coloration, not the average red burgundy you can see on all the helis. Same thing for my pulchellas clones. The nectar spoons are black, like those insitu. If i remove a single watt, my plant start to decline.

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    I think we can look to nature for the key, 1000's of years of natural selection have fine tuned these species based on their conditions.
    If they are green, yellow or red in nature than that is a reasonable goal in cultivation.

    Brad Wilson has an excellent collection of in-situ pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/frogdr/sets/

    There is no one right answer to this debate.... all depends on the species IMHO
    Some "should" be red, some "should" be green, some "should" be yellow if our goal is to mimic their natural appearance

    Edit: but most are a combination of the above, usually they darken as they age
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 06-18-2014 at 02:54 PM. Reason: add comment

  3. #19
    Maiden's Avatar
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    I see

    Yes i follow brad since years on flickr. The pictures from up there are just WoW.

    The Bonnetia bolivarensis trees are amazing..
    Last edited by Maiden; 06-18-2014 at 03:30 PM.

  4. #20

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    Maiden: you are demonstrating that adding a lot of light makes the plant look the way you want it to look. That's fine, but that's not the same as demonstrating that minor in general or that clone in particular *prefers* to exist in that state. Did you read the paper I linked? Do you have reasons to deny the research in support of the photoprotective interpretation of anthocyanins? It's an empirical question whether the intense coloration is photoprotective or not, people can and should doubt it, but they should also thoroughly familiarize themselves with the research before rejecting it. The Xanthin system clearly also serves a photoprotective function, I myself don't see any reason to doubt the photoprotective view of anthocyanins. What color do you turn when you are exposed to too much light? I turn red, though obviously the mechanism is different. That's what my body does naturally. Is that evidence that my body *prefers* that much light, or finally reached its optimal state? No. It was too much light, and my skin was damaged, and with sufficient bad luck, I'll get skin cancer from repeated overexposure. The natural environment of these plants is extreme. Cool nights and intense radiation during the day provoke enhanced coloration whether or not the photoprotective interpretation is true. It's factual observation that these will cause the color enhancement, you just told me that. So if the photoprotective interpretation is false, the burden is on you to explain why the plants do that. Why do they turn red when the temp drops and or the light increases? This is a fact that needs to be explained. Why were the juvenile Darlingtonia blood red under cold water, while the adult leaves of the same clones were green? I am satisified by the photoprotective interpretation, it explains these and many more observations, and it relies on very few indisputable facts to do so.
    Assuming we agree on the photoprotective hypothesis, there is a separate empirical question, which is presently unknown, though it is knowable. That question is, when a plant is fully red, and (again indisputably) reflecting away photosynthetically useful radiation, is it reflecting away enough light to prevent oxidative damage, or is it nevertheless being damaged by the radiation that comes through? No one knows the answer; I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for someone to do a study on this question. But it is a fact that excess light causes damage, on this hypothesis the whole purpose of the color enhancement is to avoid or minimize such damage, so we definitely have good reason to ask the question.

    Butch: the problem with letting habitat appearance be our guide is twofold. I'm not going to rehearse the argument about wasting artificial light on a plant that is indisputably reflecting it back to the universe, but that is the first problem. The sun doesn't care whether its light is being wasted, but an efficiency minded artificial light gardener ought to be. The other problem is that how a plant looks in habitat is neutral on the question of what is optimal from the plant's point of view. It is evident that eg sarracenioides and pulchella are capable of intense coloration, but it is also evident that they will grow, flower, and fruit without ever achieving that coloration. We see them in habitat, and they are red as h*ll when growing in full sun, I'd never deny that. But again, why are they that red only under very specific conditions--high light, cool temps? You could say it's because those are the conditions they grow in, they are well adapted to those conditions. Okay, but so why are they reflecting PAR only under those conditions? Darlingtonia are well adapted to their environment, they are the oldest genus in the family. What is the explanation for green leaves above water and red leaves below chilly water, if not photoprotection? The problem is that on the photoprotective hypothesis, we expect the plants to be super red in their natural extreme conditions, and indeed this would be a great adaptation to those conditions. So I don't think there's a straightforward inference from "this is how red they are in full sun on eg Ptari Tepui" to "this is how they look when they are maximally happy." Were the Darlingtonia plantlets maximally happy growing under chilly water, is that what the red color implies? One year a professor gave me some ancient controlled growth chambers. They had 2 or 3 24" t12 tubes inside, and an airconditioner. It was a hot portland summer, I had no ac, so I moved 2 dome flats of juveniles into the growth chamber, and set the temp for 70 by day, 60 at night. A month later, I determined that the built in light timer was faulty, the lights had been running 24 hours a day for the whole month. Those babies were super red, despite the fact that relatively little light (in lumen terms) was being supplied. Is that color evidence that they finally felt at home, in 24 hour light? Evidence that I was finally growing them the right way? It clearly isn't. On the photoprotective hypothesis, we expect to see blood red plants growing in full sun on Ptari Tepui, and we expect all the observations I have mentioned. Further, we then have to wonder whether those plants are so well adapted to their extreme environment that they are successfully reflecting 100% of excess photons away, or whether enough photons are getting through to cause damage, and if so, whether this is damage of consequence. If the answer turns out to be that they are successfully reflecting away 100% of excess photons, that's great, maybe they are at their peak carbohydrate production and are therefore maximally happy. I tend to doubt that this is the case, but I definitely don't know; this happy answer is one logical possibility among several. My point all along has been to question this inference from "that's how they look in the wild" to "that's how they should look in cultivation, that's what a maximally happy plant looks like." I don't think this inference is justified without further evidence. On the photoprotective hypothesis, we expect a light stressed/damaged plant to look really red, and we expect a plant that is successfully reflecting away 100% of excess photons to look really red. So color in habitat is just neutral on the question we are interested in (maximal plant happiness.). I also don't think we can stress the importance of efficiency on the one hand but then go to great lengths to supply par that is indisputably being wasted. Like I said, it's an empirical question, one can test for oxidative damage, and test for sugar production, and test flower, fruit, and seed numbers. I don't think this will happen soon. But I haven't heard any good arguments from anyone about why we should reject the science on photoprotection.

  5. #21
    Maiden's Avatar
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    "Did you read the paper I linked? Do you have reasons to deny the research in support of the photoprotective interpretation of anthocyanins?"

    Im just saying that my helis start to decline if i remove some light. I speak from personnal observations. Just relax man, dont take it personnal...
    Last edited by Maiden; 06-19-2014 at 03:54 AM.

  6. #22
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I understand your points on photoprotection and I don't think I ever argued against them.
    In all fairness, I don't think I ever made the statement that maximum color equates to maximum health.
    I did state that plant appearance is a good metric to judge a lighting system by, and I still stand by that.

    However, as far as what I think my Heliamphora should look like, then this is where we have a difference of opinion.
    I want mine to look like they do in nature, be it red, green, yellow, orange or all the above.

    Butch

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    Favian's Avatar
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    Your momma!

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    Butch and Maiden: Hey guys, I apologize if I was overly aggressive or unfriendly in my replies, or mistook what you were trying to say. The truth is I got a surprise $2000 car repair bill yesterday afternoon ("the check engine light is on because of this $400 part, but you also need to replace the timing belt, water pump, drive belt, brakes, transmission flush,etc.") I was pretty worked up about it, I'm sure that spilled over in my writing here. So I apologize for that. I'm always trying to engage in reasonable friendly discussion/debate, but I know that I often err on the side of too much bulldog. So I apologize for that as well.

    Maiden: I definitely agree with you that if you reduce the light, your plants will be less colorful. I think most or all growers have had this same observation, so I'm not questioning the validity of your observations. The only thing I am trying to convince you of is
    1) any part of the plant that is red is reflecting PAR (specifically, red PAR) back at you. If the whole plant is red, the whole plant is reflecting PAR back at you. For these claims to be true, you just have to believe in how color works, that red things reflect red light, green things reflect green light, etc. I 100% agree that if you are trying to get the plant to be fully blood red or even more intensely colored, you must supply a lot of light, and that if you turn down the light the color will decrease. So if the goal is to get that extreme color, yes, you must supply that much light, and not a bit less at a given temperature. When I say light is being indisputably wasted in those cases, my point isn't that you could supply less light and still get that color. We agree that one must definitely supply that much light, and no less to maintain that color. When the plant is green, it is absorbing and using 100% of the light you are supplying. As the light is increased, and the plant becomes more and more red, those red parts are reflecting light back at you, instead of absorbing it. So the more light you supply, the redder it becomes, but also the more (red) light is being reflecting back at you, instead of being absorbed and used by the plant. So this is what I mean when I say light is being wasted on a fully blood red plant--it is reflecting back as much red light as it possibly can, it is not using any of the reflected light. It remains true that if your goal is to achieve and maintain that intense red color, you definitely have to supply all of that light, we agree on that.

    Butch:

    >In all fairness, I don't think I ever made the statement that maximum color equates to maximum health.

    agreed, I don't think you did either, my purpose wasn't to put that claim on you. I should have written more carefully. All along, I've just been trying to explicitly isolate some possible views on cultivation, and point out that I think the science renders some less defensible than others.

    One possible view is: I like how sarracenioides looks when it is growing in full sun on Ptari. I want to cultivate my plants so they look like that. I have no beef with that, I said so twice and I'm happy to say it again. People can and should have whatever horticultural goal they want imo.

    Another possible view is: The plants look awesome on Ptari, it *should* be my horticultural goal to duplicate that appearance in cultivation, *because* that appearance only happens in ideal natural conditions when the plant is maximally happy. I have never tried to pin this claim on you or anyone else, I'm sorry that I failed to be clear enough about that. I've laid out my reasons why I think the 'because' is unjustified in that view. If we accept the photoprotection interpretation of coloration, we have to interpret that full sun Ptari summit coloration as an attempt to reflect/reject PAR that would otherwise damage the plant. So we have to interpret those conditions as being excessive light conditions from the plant's point of view, its response to those conditions is to turn real red and reflect PAR back at the universe. And so then we also have to wonder, are those plants successfully reflecting all of the excess, or are they being nevertheless stressed or damaged by excess light. No one knows, I assume we agree on that. My point has never been to argue that you are mistaken about something, it's just been to reject this view, which I have acknowledged, maybe no one even holds. For the artificial light gardener, if the science tells us that that intense red color is a sign of self defense under excess light conditions, then we have two options:
    1. I don't want to pay for excess light that the plant is just reflecting back at my face. I'm going to supply less light, even though the price is that the plant will be less red.
    2. Job 1 for me is maintaining that intense color, that's my highest priority because it looks awesome. I will keep supplying sufficient light to do so, even though some of that light is wasted/reflected, and even though it is possible that (but unknown whether) the excess light is stressing or damaging the plant.

    As in all things, you pick your poison. I make no claim about what the correct answer to this dilemma is. I'm just trying to make this dilemma explicit. I have said that if efficiency is the highest priority, it seems like that implies option 1. (Let me be explicit--efficiency has obviously never been my highest priority, I use some of the least efficient light options available. So I'm not claiming anyone *ought* to make efficiency their highest priority. I'm just saying that as the coloration increases, so too does the proportion of reflected/wasted PAR. What anyone *should* do in light of that fact is their business, not mine.)

    When we see those intensely colored wild plants, I think we all feel a craving and strong desire--they look awesome, who wouldn't want that in their house? I think it is easy to look at those wild plants and interpret that coloration as their proper, maximally happy, or flourishing coloration, though again I'm not attributing such claims to you or anyone else. But that's what is so important about the photoprotection research: it forces us to look at that coloration in a totally different way. It forces us to view that intense coloration as a signal of *self defense* from excess light at a given temperature. It may turn out that nevertheless, those plants *are* truly flourishing and maximally happy, because their reflective response is perfectly effective at dispersing excess light, and they are at peak sugar production. Or it may turn out that those plants are being damaged in an inconsequential way by excess light coming through. Or it may be that they are being damaged in a consequential way. No one knows, that's all I've been trying to say.

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