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Thread: Hybrid Nepenthes Discussion

  1. #17
    Red Lowii's Avatar
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    I definitely agree and value that characteristics and the uniqueness of pure species can not be replicated through hybridizing. For example no amount of hybridizing will create the tight mouth of an N. aristolochioides, the peristomeless uppers of inermis, or the teeth associated with hamata, villosa etc...only evolution can generate these traits. Hypothetically speaking if one does not have the conditions to grow these species for whatever reason and there are no space issues I think hybrids are just as good, not just as an alternative, but as unique plants on to themselves that in my opinion deserve the same level of attention/appreciation.

    Another point that I think is interesting and worth mention (slightly off topic), a few people grow their plants outdoors, mainly in south America, Hawaii, California, Asia, Sri Lanka and Australia in outdoor conditions. As has been mentioned a lot of the species in cultivation are artificially babied and pampered with simulated conditions and would not be able to survive without the associated mechanics. I personally like knowing that if I leave my plants alone for a few months and potentially a few years that they could/would grow on their own accord, I have done this before and the rain/ elements were sufficient to sustain them with minimal losses.

    It's been a bit of a twisted dream of mine to just release a whole bunch of them onto some privately owned plot of land that is surrounded by nature and more favorable tropical conditions and then come back to the location years later to see how they went. I know the experiment has been attempted by others already on a small scale. For example in New Zealand some carnivorous plant varieties were planted in marshland which turned out to be quite successful and they began multiplying on their own accord, would be very interesting to try the experiment with nepenthes. I doubt they would evolve over the course of one lifetime, but maybe some of the local species of insects/plants could develop some interesting symbiotic relationship, who knows!
    I love the smell of nep pollen in the morning..........smells like victory

  2. #18

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    I don't have much experience growing Nepenthes, having only grown alata successfully before, but I definitely prefer species over hybrids, not just for Nepenthes but for all carnivorous plants. I don't like not knowing what kind of plant I am getting and I know it is not true but I like to think that I am growing more "natural" plants and not something made in a greenhouse or nursery. It worries me seeing all the different hybrids available compared to the amount of species for sale online. I really hope that in the future true species can be preserved and that we will not need to try breeding hybrids to try to get back species.

  3. #19
    Red Lowii's Avatar
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    One thing I've always found interesting about the view point that by growing species one is growing more "natural" plants. Or that human intervention in creating these hybrids is in someway wrong or has created something artificial or unpure. I think humans like all other animals interact with the natural environment and are themselves a part of it, no matter how many artificial structures/cities we build. By creating terrariums or greenhouses or any element that assists in cultivation or by growing the plants outside of their natural geographical location, one has already done something that is "unnatural" I think it's an interesting reflection of a prevailing state of mind in humans rather than anything to do with the plants.

    Another off topic example, the Asian dog or the dingo was brought to the Australian mainland via trade 5,000+ years ago. It adapted and largely causing the extinction of Australia's larger carnivorous marsupials on the mainland, but it's now seen as a native animal. Does it count as "natural" now? or has human intervention rendered it no longer "natural"?
    I love the smell of nep pollen in the morning..........smells like victory

  4. #20
    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Yeah... I remember in 2010 on Dendroboard, I was scolded for even asking about creating PDF hybrids.

    Shortly after I joined TF, I read a topic about this exact same thing. Maybe someone else remembers better than I can and can find it. IIRC, it was a long discussion.

    My personal opinion is that some hybrids are prettier than pure species. Just look at N. x 'Trusmadiensis' and its hybrids, or N. x 'Briggsiana' -- they're two prime examples of hybrids with interesting traits. I think hybrids are okay, but it is quite annoying not being able to find pure species. However, Nepenthes aren't grown very widespread and many people don't have access to multiple seed grown plants of the same species. Plus, two similar species may not flower at the same time. With PDFs, they will breed yearly in breeding season and they don't have to be "in flower" -- they'll just breed without much effort.

    If you look at garden flowers and other tropicals (like orchids or bromeliads), you'll see that there are many more hybrids than pure species there.

    There's really no way to fix this than gathering seeds, seedlings, basal shoots or cuttings from wild plants. That's greatly frowned upon, however, and there are tons of laws protecting them and their import.

  5. #21
    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    For the record, I also think many existing PDF hybrids are pretty. Just really despised by most people.

  6. #22
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    Great to see everyone does have their own opinion on this... makes for an interesting topic....
    I personally like both. The species are fascinating because each one is so perfectly unique and odd in its own way. Hard to beat a well grown jamban, spectabilis, or hamata..... there are some characteristics you can't get with hybrids (great example is the tooth size on many species: you can come close, but not quite there). Also, I am a bit of a conservationist myself, and have the viewpoint that pure species should be grown and kept around even if just as a mark as to what once was.
    On the other hand, I love many hybrids as well. I have a couple of platychila hybrids, as well as the famous Miranda and Mixta plants, among others, because they also have characteristics the species just don't have. I have yet to see a northiana or maxima that gets the same kind of bright, cherry-stripey color and pattern mix you see on Miranda, and the hybrid is fantastically easy to grow too, which is a great attractor. I am also working on creating my own hybrids, like new clones of splendiana x ventricosa, or maxima x ventricosa. It all depends on what you really are looking for. Some people like wild colors and patterns, which are found mostly on hybrids, others odd shapes, and some like simple plants, like my graciliflora, which is far outclassed by my ventricosa x gymnamphora in colors and pattern, but a winner on grace.
    I think it really does just boil down to what you like personally.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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  7. #23
    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    I must admit that I'm pretty torn, too. I'm actually not as concerned about conservation as my original post may have suggested. I'm sure that, should a species go extinct in the wild, enough people grow it (both professionally and at the hobby-level) that perhaps it can live on, even to be reintroduced one day. But I love the few hybrids I have, and in a lot of ways they can be more beautiful than species plants. But having arrived decades late to the orchid "scene," I find it kind of frustrating that a lot of the species that I see in photographs or mentioned in crosses are largely unavailable to the layman. Only people who were there from "the start" may have those species plants, growing in the back of some immense greenhouse, nearly forgotten. Growers could make more beautiful and interesting plants that are thus more valuable, so they did so by making exponentially more complicated hybrids. I feel bad for future people trying to enter our hobby and they won't be able to find species plants because they were deemed "unsellable" or were "too difficult to grow at the wholesale level." The reductionist scientist in me gets really worked up over this. But I doubt that there is anything that could be done about it.
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  8. #24
    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnstuckinTime View Post
    I feel bad for future people trying to enter our hobby and they won't be able to find species plants because they were deemed "unsellable" or were "too difficult to grow at the wholesale level." The reductionist scientist in me gets really worked up over this. But I doubt that there is anything that could be done about it.
    I don't believe that is how things will play out, not at all. Any genus that is experiencing growth in interest will also see an increase in availability of plants, be they species or hybrids. No matter how commercial growers approach the problems of production for any given species/grex, they are motivated to produce as much plant material as is feasible, and to distribute it at prices the market will bear. The things we hobbyists desire translate into motivational forces that come to bear on commercial producers. Time, however, is a major limiting factor, so it can take years for specific plants to make their way from a nursery lab (regardless of whether we are talking seeds cultured in lab, or tissue cultured clones produced in mass). People are scrambling to obtain N. edwardsiana, no matter what the source or how outrageous the cost, and yet folks seem to think source entities are "holding back" on the growers, to artificially inflate prices or some such nonsense. It takes a long time to produce a batch of tissue cultured plants and get them into a condition for sale. Anyone who knows how tiny Wistuba plants are realizes Andreas is pushing out merchandise as quickly as he can (some would argue TOO quickly), not withholding valued species in order to gouge buyers.

    That said, availability of the newest darlings of the Nepenthes world will eventually reach a point where they can be had for sensible prices, and market demand will be more easily met. To suggest otherwise is kinda silly, IMO. Keep in mind as well that availability happens in cycles: a batch of plants leaves the producer, is bought up and then there is an apparent "drought", which someone -inevitably - claims is a new and terrifying trend indicating decline in species availability.

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