Glad to see that they´re growing for you .
Glad to see that they´re growing for you .
If you don't think you have room for 2 I would be glad to take the other off your hands!
Yes! There are people who do have them. But one question perplexes me @ jimmy: Why a seed grown rajah? Its not that the 4 clones are hard. I mean for plants which have only one clone in cultivation and that are impossible to grow, you can say maybe that a seed grown one MIGHT be tougher. But, You can see sooo many people who are growing the clones successfully, the clones are available easily (+ you are in the US...there are a number of sources), at cheap prices. FRom a person I Know, it can take about 10 months + for the rajah seed to germinate and it can take 3 - 4 yrs before it can reach a 5 to 6 inch plant. You can get that sized (<20$) or even bigger (12 inches plant) for less than 40$.
My problem with growing a TC rajah is just that, across the globe, most people are growing those clones. In fact, on another forum, I saw that one person had propogated so many of the TC clones that after 12 years, they ended up with over 250,000 plants, ranging from small, to in-ground, flowering-size plants, and now they have them at a facility tended to 24/7. That's a lot of rajah plants, but they are all of 4 (or less) unique genetic clones!
Plus, I don't have good highland conditions during the summer, and if I'm going to try to grow a rajah and provide it with the proper conditions as it gets larger - the big pot, the large grow chamber, the proper temperatures, lighting, and humidity - I'm going to want to grow a plant that I know will grow up to be a unique individual. Plus, with a seed-grown plant, there's a chance that it may be female, and then that would mean that seed from rajahs in cultivation could be distributed more easily, if not completely legally, to ease stress on the wild populations from which seed, whether it be in large or small amounts, is being collected illegally.
If I could move someplace that I could build a greenhouse that could be maintained without too much money put into heating, cooling, etc., then I might consider a normal TC clone. But not here in the desert of southern New Mexico, where I would have to pay more than a 1-of-4-male-TC rajah clone is worth, in my opinion, just to maintain the proper cultivation conditions. Unless I can have a magic window installed...but I only know of one of those in existence!
I know of at least four instances/people who have grown rajahs from seed, or obtained a seed-grown plant. One of those plants I have seen in person, and it is one of the most incredible Nepenthes I've ever seen in cultivation! But I haven't heard of the law carting them off to jail or even taking a ruler to the tops of their hands.
I don't know a lot about the CITES restrictions on N. rajahs, but if they allow absolutely no collection of seed, that's rediculous. They should at least allow controlled collection of small amounts of seed by authorized personel to be distributed to trustworthy and experienced growers. I know that I'd entrust the entire future of Nepenthes in the hads of certain growers. Conservation through cultivation. Ha, what would happen if Mt. kinabalu caught aflame and the destiny of N. rajah was worse off than N. clipeata, with no "legal" female clones in cultivation?
And, with all the troubles with rajahs and laws, I'd much rather dedicate similar efforts to growing new, awesomer species, currently without any CITES restrictions, like N. spec. nov. D.A.
Um, if there are no females in cultivation then why not have someone get a permit to take a few cuttings of wild females? That way, no seeds are taken, the indivual females genes will still exist in the wild and we will finially have a Rajah clone 5 that will be female.
"The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
Plus plant material is way more restricted than seeds, and a source cites that a rajah taken out of the wilderness of Mt. Kinabalu will not last for more than three months in cultivation, presumably because of the less-than-optimal conditions compared to Mt. Kinabalu, where rajahs adapted very well to those conditions and are picky about them.
Additionally, ultrahighlanders are rumored to be difficult to strike cuttings from, and actual plant material is considerably more difficult to introduce into TC than seeds. But in my opinion, there should be no 'clone 5', just a variety of unique, individual, seed-grown plants.
What is CITES?
I know the other person/ forum thread you are talking about and There is a reason why those plants are only those 4 clones: Its illegal to use wild seed for commercial trade. yes, THere are ways in which seed can be legally obtained...but to my knowledge this is for educational purposes requested from universities/botanical gardens which requires permits from various authorities such as the Untied Nations & the govt. of Borneo.
lol! Back to the root of the entire seed vs TC debate.
But seriously without all that planning/hoping for the future (rajah can take 10+ years to mature and flower), risking a possible jail sentence/legal consequences if found out, ... isn't it just easier to get a legal 10-15$ small plant and give it a shot around your house "right now" to see if you can even grow this plant? N.rajah can take a warm conditions for a few months in the year. I know people are growing this species even in singapore. If your summer months alone are the problem... the rajah is forgiving enough to grow without proper night time cooling for quite a few weeks.Plus, I don't have good highland conditions during the summer, and if I'm going to try to grow a rajah and provide it with the proper conditions as it gets larger - the big pot, the large grow chamber, the proper temperatures, lighting, and humidity - I'm going to want to grow a plant that I know will grow up to be a unique individual. Plus, with a seed-grown plant, there's a chance that it may be female, and then that would mean that seed from rajahs in cultivation could be distributed more easily, if not completely legally, to ease stress on the wild populations from which seed, whether it be in large or small amounts, is being collected illegally.
Lol! Its the cultivation practices/conditions that determines if the plant is incredible. Its not the distinction whether its a seed grown or a tissue cultured specimen. If you think otherwise, consider the pictures posted by Jeremiah and Robert Cantley (the owner of those 250000 plants).I know of at least four instances/people who have grown rajahs from seed, or obtained a seed-grown plant. One of those plants I have seen in person, and it is one of the most incredible Nepenthes I've ever seen in cultivation!
COming to the truth about CITES. Well... yes, there may be some illegal seed/plants in cultivation. And yes, there are ALSO some legal seed grown plants in cultivation as well. These might have been those seed that were given out by Sabah Parks Authority voluntarily for educational purposes. But seed collected otherwise, if caught, the consequences can be pretty bad: I know of an incident I read where numerous CITES Ap.1 orchids were being imported illegally by a guy in his jacket and he was fined a hefty sum + some jailtime.
Quote from Robert Cantley:
Yes! The restriction that No collection of seed might be ridiculous for a common person. But face it, there is a reason why that species is protected: To ensure the continued survival of the species in its own habitat. Not in a few private collections around the world, not in a greenhouse or on a grow table. Controlled collection?? Who determines the quantity/reason for that collection? In-fact who is should be authorized to do that collection? The truth is that the Borneo government is the one which decides if it can allow that. They select academic institutions or famous botanical gardens across the world who have a longer longevity than an individual grower. Face the fact that if a species is down to just a few individuals, I am pretty sure that they would rather send it to a botanical garden such as the RBG in Kew or the one in Atlanta rather than a plant collector. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to protection, strict policies have to be enforced. A person collecting a seed pod from borneo might think: "Hey! there are thousands of these....whats the difference if I just take one?". Its that same attitude which everyone follows and sooner or later we end up with the situation which was described recently in literature somewhere "No seed pods are left on the plants along the mountain trail". A similar analogy can be drawn to the fate of the passenger pigeon which was killed to extinction.N. rajah is CITES appedix I and unlike the other Appendix II plants it's not permitted to import or export even seed without CITES permits. The penalty for contravening CITES laws for an Appendix I species is the same as smuggling ivory and carries a mandatory prison sentence.
The fact is unless you do genetic analysis, what makes the difference if someone came up to you with a small TC specimen and sold it to ya saying its a 2 yr old seed grown plant? Can u recognise it by looking at it? It is depressing that the 3/4 rajah clones may be all male. It is depressing that we can't produce viable rajah offspring from the genetic pool of the available plants in cultivation (discounting those from seed). In the end, its still the Nepenthes rajah. It will still be a highlander, It will still require night-time drops in temperature. Its still a representative of that species form the wild which can be grown to become an equivalent spectacular specimen.
Ah, where to start...
Well, the "controlled collection of small amounts of seed by authorized personel to be distributed to trustworthy and experienced growers" that I was talking about. That's exactly what I had in mind, distribution of the seed by specialized personel authorized the Bornean government (I guess that would be the Sabah Parks Authority, correct?) to botanical gardens and institutions, and even carnivorous plant societies.
It's nice to know that seed can be distributed legally. I never would have purposely suggested it be handed out to just anybody, sorry if I implied that. Especially when it takes a seedgrown plant 20 years to reach flowering maturity, it's best meant for the experts and possible the very serious private growers, i.e. the ones that are actively pursuing discoveries and conservation of wild nepenthes populations - not collectors. Strict policies regarding the protection of a species as majestic as the rajah are a damn good thing - as long as controlled distribution of seed is allowed by the responsible party (Borneo).
If the species was down to just a few individuals in the wild after some sort of natural disaster, I am just saying that it would be a good idea to already have multiple well-cared-for, genetically unique plants from which the fate of the species could depend on. Now, I am in no way advocating illegal collection, just a tad bit more legallized seed distribution to responsible sources. Believe me, if I heard there was rajah seed being passed around to people who seem unfit to care for them and without proper documantation, I would ask around to see if it was legal before anything else. And even then, I wouldn't even like to try them myself, I've got very little experience so far compared to other growers - and I'd discourage the inexperienced to try them, too.
Lol, you may have convinced me to at least try a rajah, but right now it's not even near the top of my list. If someone offered me a free TC rajah I'd sure take it, there are plenty of those around. Just to see if it would grow for me in the less-than-normal conditions in my home. But if I could get my hands on a legal seed-grown plant with a pedigree, you can bet that I'd go all-out for it and tend to its every whim. A seed-grown plant of a species that is very limited in the wild is a very serious matter to me.
Well.... I must ask "What is the purpose of that diversity in cultivation?" Are you planning on reintroducing cultured plants back in the wild someday ?? Let me just state a situation from the past: N.rajah was discovered in the 1800's. A number of plants were taken from the wild, grown at many botanical gardens, in many collections especially in europe. After the craze passed away, inevitably every plant in cultivation perished due its cultivation requirements, the depression period etc..
Face it, it is a selfish cause that we are cultivating these plants. The simple fact of cultivation is to enjoy a certain plant which we cannot necessarily witness in its true element everyday whenever we want. For this purpose we want to enjoy that specimen in the confines of our homes. It was arguably that practice of collection which might have led to the endangered status (not to mention its narrow niche).
Well...counting on conservation through cultivation? As I just said... there is only one way to protect anything: protecting it within its habitat. A species extinct in the wild can for the most part be termed totally extinct. God-forbid, If borneo had suddenly disappeared under the ocean, N.rajah will be extinct. The process of saving the species in cultivation is just a tiny discountable prolongation to the species existance in evolutionary terms. The human life time is very minute in the scale of evolution and persistance. What you like right now might not exactly be what the next generation likes. Unless the species was relocated to a new island, at the same altitude with same conditions, you will not get the species to survive. Even if it does, evolution will take its course as what you are introducing is a foreign species to that habitat and N.rajah might turn into something very different.
Now if that disaster was poaching, then maybe the diversity in cultivation might help and in the human lifetime, an attempt can be made to restore populations. But instead of that isn't it just easier economically to protect a species in its wild than bothering with the organisation required to initiate planting of rajahs on Mt. kinabalu?
One thing is for sure: Nature is extremely resilient and discounting poaching, wildlife/fauna exist in a balance that is consistent till the evolutionary balance tips over. However, this isn't something that will happen in our lifetime. Our lifetime is at the most a century. Grown correctly, a single rajah can surpass that lifespan many times and endure through time (through offshoots etc.) I understand that there are prospective new hybrids that can be made with a female rajah. But, does that "fun" warrant loosening the rules which could affect the species protection?
Now I know the recurring idea might be: "I am just saying a limited authorized collection DAMMITT!!". But once again: What determines that the growers & organisations you think are worthy are indeed the worthy ones to recieve that collection?
The only reason for my enture argument with you about a seed grown plant is: You want to grow a rajah (and you probably understand already how much I love this species ), but you are aiming for rajah seed without understanding the potential of the clones in tissue culture using the conservation of diversity in cultivation as an excuse. (Why is it an excuse? I explained that in the beginning of this post). The matter of fact is I am trying to discourage you from even bothering to put pressure on the wild population.
IMO the true N.rajah is the plant that grows on Mt. Kinabalu naturally facing the various elements in its habitat persevering as a species fighting for survival. It is a truly enigmatic plant which we like. If we want to protect it, it needs to be protected in its habitat and not within 24" pots under a glasshouse in Kew or growshelfs around the world.
The fact of the matter is as you wanted, most of the newer nepenthes discovered have been distributed as seed and some of them tissue culture en'masse. But what about those older species such as N.rajah, well, maybe in the future generations, these strict policies of protection will help restore populations to numbers which can lower the status of this species on the CITES. The whole fact that poaching for rajah plants from the wild is negligible itself is testiment to the magic of our tissue culture/protection policies. That day probably the seed can be collected and the our desires for a wider genetic pool for our gardens met. But for now, as enthusiaists of this genus, we have to understand and support these protection methods and co-operate for the welfare of our admirable flora.