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Thread: Upper & lower pitchers

  1. #1
    boomfiziks1's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm going to ask a newbie question. I've been reading some of the posts and I keep hearing about the upper and lower pitchers. From what I understand and can see there can be a difference between the pitchers that form on the top of the plant compared to the bottom of the plant...is that correct? Is there a reason why?

    Also, and this may sound dumb, but if someone takes a cutting from the upper portion of the plant that is producing one type of pitcher (in comparison to the lower pitchers) and plants it, will the top clipping only produce those upper pitchers? My guess is no, that after a time, the lower portion will start producing the lower pitchers that are different than the upper pitchers. Is this correct?

    Again, sorry for the newbie questions. While some of you are working yourselves off the floor from laughter, I'll be donning on my fire-retardent clothing and preparing for the flaming. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    Dwight

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    I'm pretty new to Nepenthes too, but from what I've read and heard, there are differences between the upper and lower pitchers. Depending on the species, one or the other will look more attractive and be more efficient in catching insects. I don't know the why part though.

    About the reproduction by cuttings part, I've read in Savage Garden, or was it Adrian Slack's book(?) (I'm not sure, but one or the other) that taking cuttings from the upper portion of the plant producing upper pitchers and rooting them will have the new plant producing only upper pitchers. Should you take a cutting from the lower portion of the plant producing lower pitchers, the new plant would start by producing lower pitchers, and as it gets taller, it will eventually produce upper pitchers. I've never tried propagating before, so I don't know if it's true.

    And your questions aren't dumb. I'm sure many people on this site would be glad to help. I ask a lot of questions myself!

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    Yes, most species produce different pitchers, called upper and lower pitchers, or ground and aerial pitchers. It is theorised that they are designed to catch different sorts of insects, the lowers resting on, or partially submerged, in the leaf litter/moss, so are designed to catch crawling insects. Uppers are potentially designed to catch flying insects. But I'm not sure any real empirical evidence exists.

    Another factor to consider is that lower pitchers can be bigger as they often get to rest on the ground. Producing smaller and lighter upper pitchers makes sense for a vine that has to support itself or rely on other plants for support.

    As a general rule, lower pitchers are larger and more colourful than lowers. This is not always true, but holds true for most species. Also, a handful of species produce only one type of pitcher (eg. campanulata), or rarely produce uppers (eg. gymnamphora), or produce intermittant, vestigial uppers (eg. ampullaria).

    Again, as a general rule, cuttings made from stem producing upper pitchers will produce uppers, or will produce lowers for a short period before producing uppers. Cuttings from vine producing lowers will produce lowers.

    Also, most species will produce one or two pitchers in between lower and upper pitchers that have varying degrees of the characteristic of both kinds. These are often referred to, unsuprisingly, as intermediate pitchers.
    Demystifying Nepenthes: http://www.nepenthesforeveryone.com

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    boomfiziks1's Avatar
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    These plants are truly fascinating...they are unlike most other plants that I am familiar with. I have a few more questions.

    Is there a way to make a cutting that you would still get both the upper and lowers? Is the only way to get an upper and lower is from growing the plant from seed? If you have a female (or male) plant that is either an upper or lower cutting, can it still send up a flower/pollen stalk? Would the flower/pollen stalk be affected if it came from an upper or lower cutting? Is it possible to get a cutting from a root and if so, what happens?

    I know with some things like venus flytraps or sundews, some people make "clones" out of the plant tissues. Can the same thing be done with the neps? Will a "clone" from an upper only produce an upper (and vice versa)?

    Sorry for all of the questions. I'm just intrigued by these plants. The more I learn about them, the more I realize how little I know about them...and the more intrigued I become. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    Thanks,
    Dwight

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    Here's my experience. I've had lots of cuttings, and here's the basic pattern. If it's a cutting of a vine producing upper pitchers, it makes upper pitchers, at least for a while. Sometimes it will revert to lowers, but usually only one or two, then goes back to uppers. However, it will eventually send out a basal shoot from the roots or lower stem. These will make lower pitchers, until they start to vine and make uppers too.

    Here's a pic of a plant where I had uppers, lowers, and intermediate pitchers all on the same plant at the same time (some make an intermediate pitcher or two when transitioning from lowers to uppers.) This is N. x Splendiana:



    Capslock
    Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium

    My photos are copyright-free and public domain

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (boomfiziks1 @ Nov. 21 2005,7:24)]These plants are truly fascinating...they are unlike most other plants that I am familiar with. I have a few more questions.

    Is there a way to make a cutting that you would still get both the upper and lowers?

    A: No. A cutting will produce whatever it produces. So you'll get lower pitchers from a portion of vine producing lowers, and either lower or upper pitchers from a portion of vine producing uppers.

    Is the only way to get an upper and lower is from growing the plant from seed?

    A: On the one plant, you'd either grow it from seed, TC, or from a cutting of lower vine.

    If you have a female (or male) plant that is either an upper or lower cutting, can it still send up a flower/pollen stalk?

    A: Flowers are only produced when the plant reaches sexual maturity, and that is nearly always after it has started to produce upper pitchers.

    Would the flower/pollen stalk be affected if it came from an upper or lower cutting?

    A: As can be infered from the above, flowers would only really be produced from upper cuttings.

    Is it possible to get a cutting from a root and if so, what happens?

    A: Possibly with some species like rowanae and 'Viking', which produce almost tuberous roots from which they can reshoot after fire, drought or simlar adverse conditions. But this is just conjecture on my part, and would need to be tried to prove or disprove it.

    I know with some things like venus flytraps or sundews, some people make "clones" out of the plant tissues. Can the same thing be done with the neps? Will a "clone" from an upper only produce an upper (and vice versa)?

    TC can only really be done with Nepenthes from seed, so TC plants are basically like any other seedling. I've heard rumours of meristem cloning of Nepenthes, but I would put money on meristem material developing like a seedling.

    Sorry for all of the questions. I'm just intrigued by these plants. The more I learn about them, the more I realize how little I know about them...and the more intrigued I become. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    Thanks,
    Dwight
    [I've added my comments after "A:"

    These plants are truly fascinating...they are unlike most other plants that I am familiar with. I have a few more questions.

    Is there a way to make a cutting that you would still get both the upper and lowers?

    A: No. A cutting will produce whatever it produces. So you'll get lower pitchers from a portion of vine producing lowers, and either lower or upper pitchers from a portion of vine producing uppers.

    Is the only way to get an upper and lower is from growing the plant from seed?

    A: On the one plant, you'd either grow it from seed, TC, or from a cutting of lower vine.

    If you have a female (or male) plant that is either an upper or lower cutting, can it still send up a flower/pollen stalk?

    A: Flowers are only produced when the plant reaches sexual maturity, and that is nearly always after it has started to produce upper pitchers.

    Would the flower/pollen stalk be affected if it came from an upper or lower cutting?

    A: As can be infered from the above, flowers would only really be produced from upper cuttings.

    Is it possible to get a cutting from a root and if so, what happens?

    A: Possibly with some species like rowanae and 'Viking', which produce almost tuberous roots from which they can reshoot after fire, drought or simlar adverse conditions. But this is just conjecture on my part, and would need to be tried to prove or disprove it.

    I know with some things like venus flytraps or sundews, some people make "clones" out of the plant tissues. Can the same thing be done with the neps? Will a "clone" from an upper only produce an upper (and vice versa)?

    TC can only really be done with Nepenthes from seed, so TC plants are basically like any other seedling. I've heard rumours of meristem cloning of Nepenthes, but I would put money on meristem material developing like a seedling.

    Sorry for all of the questions. I'm just intrigued by these plants. The more I learn about them, the more I realize how little I know about them...and the more intrigued I become. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    Thanks,
    Dwight[QUOTE]
    Demystifying Nepenthes: http://www.nepenthesforeveryone.com

  7. #7
    boomfiziks1's Avatar
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    I apologize for my ignorance, but what is "TC"?

  8. #8

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    Tissue culture
    Demystifying Nepenthes: http://www.nepenthesforeveryone.com

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