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Thread: Why grow hybrids?

  1. #9

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    Hi all:

    Nepenthes species are the product of natural selection and evolution. They adapt and thrive in specific environments. I wish I knew why there are so many species with so many pitcher colours and types, since the type of prey these catch does not seem to be a critical factor in their survival.
    For those who only grow species, my guess is that they love to admire nature's jewells.
    A main problem is the fact that because of their unique adaptability to specific habitats, a fair percentage don't usually do well in foreign environments (of course there are exceptions ie, mirabilis, maxima etc.)
    So for a hobbyist, to grow species, is a real challenge, because he/she has to learn the demands of each and everyone of the species in his/her possession. There'll be plenty of deaths and near-death experiences with the plants until the hobbyist learns how to grow them appropriately.

    Hybrids, on the other hand, are far easier to grow because of their genetic diversity which is far greater than that of a species will adapt more rapidly giving joy to the grower.Of course, there are hard to grow hybrids too, but in general, there is much less effort invested in growing these.

    Furthermore, the unexpected shape and size of pitchers from crosses from artificial hybridization is an unrivalled experience and adds to the joy of growing neps.
    In the end, everyone of us decide what, how, and when to grow neps so my only suggestion to you all is keep doing it but please don't limit yourself to grow a particular group of plants, because then nepenthes culturing becomes an incomplete experience.

    Gus

  2. #10

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    While the collecting of species is an effort to conserve the true character of the species. One must also ponder about the aspect of poaching and wrongful reasons to own species. Species do a great role in their environment. Just that said, we don't need to own them in our living rooms or basements, or next to our TV remotes. Species are important building blocks for many fine hybrids, but as a true species, I would prefer a conservatory or even individual who can maintain and inventory them regularly should be able to grow and propagate them. While some individuals do grow them well, to have a rare alpine species grow in a fish tank under artificial lights don't seem to give these species their true place in life. As someone mentioned,...yes indeed they have evolved to grow and adapt (in the environment they have evolved in) for the sake of occupying that niche.

    Hybrids (also mentioned), provides ease of culture and availability for many to experiment and grow and enjoy. It is with the availability of the many hybrids that this hobby in nepenthes cultivation has expanded on. Hybrids have adapted to a wider range of growing conditions. It will be some day that super hybrids become available with characteristics of villosa in a growing range of an intermediate habit. This will relieve pressure for the slower rarer villosa wild population and at the same time allow everyone to experiment and grow a species close to characteristics and enjoy it in their own environment.

    Species are important, but many have lost their lives dying next to the remote on the TV set while they would have been better off planted back in nature where it originated from.


    Michael
    Morticia:\"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc, 'We would gladly feast on those who try to subdue us.' Not just pretty words. but words to live by!\"

  3. #11
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    I just grow the most beautiful neps that I can get my hands on. In my environment, I am lucky enogough to be able to grow lowlanders and highlanders at the same time, from N. ephippiata to N. mirabilis and sumatrana. All grow vigorously and pitcher. Quite amazing...

  4. #12

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    As most would probably be aware, I'm firmly in favour of species for conservation reasons. I am not against hybrids, as long as they don't displace species in the Nep world, or drain resources from species preservation. I have limited space and money, so I have a small number of mostly interesting hybrids. But if I completely ran out of room, I'd happily get rid of the hybrids.

    I agree that conservation is hard work. I have to go to great lengths to get seed grown material rather than TC stuff, and it's even harder to get plants or seed that are accurately labelled as to their locality of origin. But it can be done.

    lol, there's a very good reason Geoff Mansell has a lot to say about hybrids: he makes lots of money from them. If eveyone were collecting species and eschewing hybrids, he'd not have a business. His page on hybrids is just a way of encouraging business, which is fair enough given Exotica is a business. But I don't think it should be seen as a dispassionate or objective view on the merits of hybrids.

    I agree with what others have said about the thrill of producing interesting things from hybridisation, and the fact that hybrids are a good drawcard to get interest in the genus from a new audience. I just hope that, like has happened with some other genera, hybrids don't displace species to the point where the original species is almost impossible to get hold of.
    Demystifying Nepenthes: http://www.nepenthesforeveryone.com

  5. #13
    Juan-Carlos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I agree with what others have said about the thrill of producing interesting things from hybridisation, and the fact that hybrids are a good drawcard to get interest in the genus from a new audience. I just hope that, like has happened with some other genera, hybrids don't displace species to the point where the original species is almost impossible to get hold of.
    I couldn't agree more! See I am not in any way against the culture of hybrids, on the contrary. I do however sometimes feel that the effort that is put into mass producing these hybrids could instead go into mass producing species. Now, imagine those same efforts put into growing thousands upon thousands of hybrids for commercial purposes was put into growing species. Yes many species can be more demanding, and indeed the diversity that hybrids have, make them more of a feasible task to growers. However, there is also many species that are not demanding and stand on par with the easiest of hybrids.

    This doesn't go for only Nepenthes, but Sarracenia, orchids, bromeliads etc etc. See my only concern is how SydneyNeps stated is hybrids replacing species. As a bromeliad collector, it kills me to walk into Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, Kmart, and local nurseries and only find Bromeliad hybrids... VERY rarely will you find a bromeliad species other than Tillandsia cyanea.
    My point of reasoning is that there really is no reason to go through so much trouble to "create" marketable hybrids, when there are as many species that can out compete any hybrid in both beauty and ease of care.

    It seems that the same thing has happened with orchids, for example how many times do you see Phalaenopsis species? Now this is just and example, but considering all the spectacular Phalaenopsis species that exist ( http://www.phals.net/Species.html ) Why is it that all we know of is Phalaenopsis hybrids... sure many of you will recognize some species, but in all fairness I bet many of you didn't even know of any phalaenopsis species names. Looking at that link above, is there any reason to make hybrids?? Honestly Most of those Species surpass all the "common" Phalaenopsis hybrids that we see on a regular basis. Species have as much marketability as hybrids. Look if it wasent so, then hybridizers wouldn't have bothered in crossing to make new hybrids. Obviously the species made an impact.

    So why do we grow hybrids? And this question isn't directed to individual growers for say, it is more of a general; why do people worldwide have such a great need for hybrids, when the species can fit to any expectations that we have of hybrids?

    All in all, I am not trying to change anyone's mind on what to grow, because as I stated before I do have a few Nepenthes hybrids. I do however wanted to see if the plant growing community agrees or has different views and opinions.


    -Jc
    Heliamphora ... A genus that intrigues me and fills me with joy!

    -Jc
    Miami, Florida

  6. #14

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    As mentioned earlier, if we did see hundreds of species for sale, let's say thousands, it will have to come from tissue cultured material and the likelihood of any being even worth cultivating is an entirely different story. While hybrids seems to be everywhere, every genus, there is a reason why that is. Perhaps people like them better? A hybrid is a true genetic strain. Unlike tc plants which may or may not be from more than a single origin, hybrids have the uniqueness of being individual. This is what is currently lacking in the species. Agristarts pours (dumps) hundreds of thousands of species into the market (yes, like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. - not just hybrid orchids and bromeliads but true species of nepenthes) and I feel it is completely worthless and I would rather own hybrids. Anyone ones to start a new genetic colony from Agristart stock? Highly doubtful! Imagine 105,000 N. ventricosa for June 2005 alone! They're TRUE species, where do all these species end up? N. sanguinea, N. rafflesiana, etc. more and more species and guess what? Next month another hundred thousand!
    Who said there are more hybrids on the market than species
    While the possession of species in one's collection is just to pat ourselves on the back for "saving" nature. The natural populations of N. clipeata will probably be extinct in five years. While known populations of females are documented, the timing of a male clipeata and a female clipeata in flower at the same time is a remote chance. The seed of any such pollination effort would probably need to be secured and grown out to a decent size, reestablished on cliffs inaccessible to collectors and at the same time live in Never Never Land, cause it aint gonna happen. While the need for pure species increases, many natural populations suffer in losing some of their genetic bloodline for the sake for collectors to own a piece of the rock!

    When seed grown material is available, it quickly exhausts due to demand, leaving just the tc plants remaining. Most collectors just buy ONE species. IF they are planning to help conserve genetic material, they should get a dozen or even 20! That way, YES, you are helping the natural populations by maintaining their genetic quality! For those who just owns the one, you are just helping yourself!

    An individual owning just one specimen of a species, does not help in conservation, you're not giving that species a chance to perpetuate itself, by owning just ONE species you are NOT saving the planet! and if that was the case, Noah's Ark would just take one of each animal, please wake up and know that if anything you are destroying that species chance in nature by providing less than natural conditions and taking it away from potential breeding mates that could produce more seed and increase genetic make up.
    If you just own one hamata, one ventricosa, one truncata, one sanguinea, one lowii, one sibuyanensis, one bellii, one ampullaria, and so forth, you have candidates for breeding hybrids!

    Yes species are important, but did a N. macrophylla outlived the dinosaurs to live its existence in a cold terraria? I doubt so! But yet, we feel compelled to do this GREAT task!
    We need more species!!!! Down with hybrids!!!
    Afterall, after we decimate all the species by planting them in our aquarium, we can always grow the hybrids!


    M
    Morticia:\"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc, 'We would gladly feast on those who try to subdue us.' Not just pretty words. but words to live by!\"

  7. #15
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    JC the reason big box stores sell hybrid Phals and not pure species is that the vast majority of pure species Phals are a pain to grow without a grow chamber or greenhouse. they can be quite picky. hybrids however can survive in quite rough conditions. there are quite a few species that probably wouldnt survive long enough for the person to buy them.

    as far as Neps there are far to many interesting species for them to be replaced by hybrids. i have absolutly no prejiduces against hybrids, i have several, but the main thing im looking to cross with my striped veichii is another veitchii. lots of other growers are the same. several ppl looking for pollen ive noticed were looking for the same species to cross with first, and looking to make hybrids second. there is a large section of our hobby that is quite interested in not only pure species but looking for particular locales(Sarrs and to a lesser extent Neps) or particular clones(mainly Neps)
    cervid serial killer
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  8. #16

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    First of all, let's get the facts straight! Hybrids do not outnumber the species. There are far more tissue cultured species on the market than there could ever be hybrids! I wish there could be more hybrids than species on the market. It is far easier to obtain a species than it is to get a hybrid. Wistuba, Borneo Exotics, Malesiana Tropicals, Neo Farms, even Exotica plants sells species. Aside from Exotica who specializes in hybrids, the species outnumber the hybrids in every listing. Now the reason why people tend to grow hybrids (which are harder to find, fewer and less quantity) is beause they are harder to find and rarer. Everyone is looking for N. lowii x ventricosa. Its a hybrid that EP made a while ago, now they're out and currently on bid from them probably for a high price. While N. lowii is sought after and probably the red clone of N. ventricosa, there still is available quantity of N. lowii AND N. ventricosas available. But N. lowii x ventricosa None! The species outnumber the hybrids AGAIN! Although everyone wants that hybrid, the species of each are abundant and readily available. So please get your facts correct when stating that there are so many hybrids on the market and so few species. The reverse is true! Check Tony Paroubek's, Dean Cook's and other listings, the species outnumber the hybrids. Even the quantity that these suppliers sells on species, they ALWAYS stock more of a true species than a hybrid, no matter how awesome the hybrid may be.

    Personally, I would prefer a hybrid and save the species for its habitat where it evolved to be in. Hybrids didn't evolve to be in habitat and would probably only be alive in captivity! N. clipeata grows well on those sheer windswept vertical cliffs where the heat and wind prevail. We could never duplicate that condition for them to be grown in captivity, so they need to belong out there! Where as N. clipeata x N. truncata or other man made crosses, do not! We made these crosses and should be held repsonsible to grow them to maturity. While natural hybrids do occur naturally, they are remote and may fall behind due to competition of either parent's ability to utilize insects acustomed to.


    Michael
    Morticia:\"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc, 'We would gladly feast on those who try to subdue us.' Not just pretty words. but words to live by!\"

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