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Thread: Growing intermediate/highland plants HOT

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    Vidyut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    Your "jamban" aren't jamban; dubia, inermis, or hybrids of either rather (and if the other "highland" seeds were bought off eBay, they probably aren't highland species, or possibly even species, at all; any actual species will also probably be poached, and so henceforth definitely should be avoided purchasing again). Most of the plants seen here are either typically rather adaptable plants, or the true highland ones do seem to be showing effects of higher heat than they like (anything with rajah involved, or species like N. mira are definitely going to scream if they don't get cold nights). Certainly if you can set up a very cool location they may do fine, but there are very few true highland species that can be acclimated to any other climate.
    Which highland species, in your opinion are good candidates to try? Obviously the risk is mine, but looking more for ideas from your growing experience - those that seem to care less about the cold than others.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    N. jamban does not have that growth pattern at all, and even when young starts very early on showing the tubby pitchers it's famed for on long tendrils...
    This is a photo by Rob Cantley of seedlings of jamban from 2006 https://www.cpukforum.com/forum/inde...comment=144349 My plants are smaller, but I am not able to observe any incompatibilities. The smaller pitchers on these look similar to mine. Also the leaves.

    I am not trying to be difficult, I am trying to understand, so that I may learn.

    Shape of seedlings is also entirely species-dependent. Yes, more lowland species tend to have broader leaves with pitchers attached right at the tips than highlanders do, but this does not always hold true and a lot of the really common "intermediate" type plants can go either way really easily.
    Good point. Noted.

    And if you can't get non-poached seeds, don't get seeds. Every person that supports poaching (and the Nepenthes seeds from around SE Asia definitely are poached) is contributing to the issue, no matter the supposed rationale. You don't buy, the poacher doesn't get the money from you, and they will find some other way to source, and if enough people simply say "no," eventually it will not be the "well, someone else is going to buy them so I might as well" argument in place anymore and the poacher's hand will be forced. Supporting cultivated progeny can and will have an impact (especially at the point where those who are poaching realize they can make more money raising and protecting the plants; wildlife tourism can be huge for such novelties, both in actual habitat and nearby recreations in culture), and every change starts with one person changing.
    Enough reports to the sites these things are listed on (like eBay) about illegal activities can also eventually change practices if enough people speak up and act. The world is no longer "well that government isn't doing anything so we can't;" every person potentially has a global voice, and global impact.
    I have actually worked with organizations that combat poaching and such on the ground level. Working with forest dwelling tribal populations, etc (such would actually also be the people collecting seeds for the ebay sellers over there). The "well someone is going to buy them" argument is very real, I assure you. Me not buying them will only mean a few thousand dollars of a difference to my pocket buying nursery grown plants and getting them shipped to India - IF I find sellers willing to ship to India selling them to begin with. This is more inexpensive to type than it is to execute. And I am the one who has been spending for years. I know what I am talking about. Try the sale/trade offers here. How many ship out of US/Europe?

    It won't stop those seeds from being sold, regardless. Someone will indeed buy them, including many members of online communities like this one. At best, they won't honestly say where they got the seeds from and not talk about it, so that they don't look bad among the other CP growers they want respect from or pretend that they didn't know the seeds were wild collected. You can't stop poaching like that. Not even one non-buyer at a time. The bulk of the seeds will actually get sold to rank beginners buying for curiosity because they want to grow plants that look cool like the photos found online, not realizing the reality of just what it takes to get to that stage, and the time. Those people you can't even touch with warnings, because they don't even have any idea that the seed could be wild collected.

    You are serious about combating poaching, the best route to take is to file a police complaint using conservation related laws, evidence of sales and so on. A lot of poachers usually have political connections that let them still get away, but seed sellers probably aren't exactly ivory smugglers, so it could work in this case. You can't guard plants in the wild 24/7, you can't prevent people from buying what is on sale. Two choke points are getting the poacher with the money trail nailing identity and filing cases against eBay for wild seed smuggling. You won't be able to do anything to ebay, but could probably get a court to force them to take the listings down - that will hit the business.

    On the buyer end, the only thing that will really work is availability of plants that take time and gamble out of messing with those seeds. That too will not work where importing plants is not easy.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

  3. #11
    Vidyut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vidyut View Post
    You are serious about combating poaching, the best route to take is to file a police complaint using conservation related laws, evidence of sales and so on. A lot of poachers usually have political connections that let them still get away, but seed sellers probably aren't exactly ivory smugglers, so it could work in this case. You can't guard plants in the wild 24/7, you can't prevent people from buying what is on sale. Two choke points are getting the poacher with the money trail nailing identity and filing cases against eBay for wild seed smuggling. You won't be able to do anything to ebay, but could probably get a court to force them to take the listings down - that will hit the business.
    You'd be surprised how much you can do from the US itself. You can file a complaint against ebay in the US using conservation laws. US courts will force ebay to take those seeds off or implement requirements for proof of parent plants in cultivation or something when selling nepenthes seeds. They are required to uphold law, after all. And it is international laws for at least some of the seeds, in which case ebay can't dodge with simply not offering those seeds in the US. You can take down sales worldwide.

    If you are that passionate about conserving those seeds, I would recommend this route. Or if you can get someone to act on your behalf in the countries poaching is happening... but that will be harder and more expensive. Chances are extremely high that even if all the seeds poached aren't covered by international laws, Ebay will take them down to clean up its image.

    But you will definitely make history on nepenthes conservation if you can pull it off. It could be better to convince some organization or large CP business to back it. ICPS could also be interesting.

    Don't ask me why I don't do it since I have the bright ideas. Right now, on the legal front, my hands are full trying to prevent the govt arbitrarily stripping off the citizenship of lakhs of Indians in a full blown Nazi move among loads of really serious wrongs against humans going on. My "fighting resources" are overloaded. Protecting seeds in a distant country is not even on the list.

    I will help how I can if you attempt this (not sure what I could do from another country), but I can't take it on myself.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

  4. #12
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    In order of replies:
    1. Sincerely, just about any plant that is actually a strictly highland species is not one I would suggest trying. Those plants with broad altitudinal distributions and thus classified "intermediate" plants would be better to start, then species like the relatively "low-elevation" highlanders like N. ventricosa, sibuyanensis, maxima, robcantleyi might be next; some have success with plants like hamata and edwardsiana but I would not spend large amounts of money on one before less expensive species are thriving. I would not spend money on anything more picky until other plants have been thriving for a while.

    2. The link you gave gives evidence to my point; those plants look nothing like yours beyond the natural similarities due to jamban, inermis, and dubia all being in the same species group and relatively closely related. The pitcher shape is different, the leaves are on yours more ovular lanceolate than the oblanceolate shape of jamban, and the stocky stem characteristic yours has doesn't show in the link. Should the stems on yours start blushing red, that's another key trait of either inermis or dubia.

    3. The cost to you should not factor, period, in the ethical or legal issues with purchasing poached seeds. There are several CP sources that ship worldwide and relatively cheaply, with all the permits available needed for their end as well, and of the two that come in right off the top of my head (Wistuba and BestCarnivorousPlants) they have the majority of CP species between them that one might want to try, and if one does the wise thing and buys a couple, makes sure they are actually doing well in one's conditions, and then order more then one can also start to captive-propagate those species and build a local source for them so that others don't have the issue/temptation of not having anything other than illegal sources to go for. Should you happen to be caught by government authorities for breaking not only import/export laws, but also endangered species regulations and CITES, the cost of that fine might not leave you with a difference of a few or even a few hundred bucks, but potentially thousands, tens of thousands, or even jail time (we've got the articles on this site to show it happens, and can be nasty. And every country has regulations along these lines, not just here in the US).
    Also, if you don't already have a perfect environment to raise especially the typically critically endangered highland species that everyone wants and are the most targeted (ie. edwardsiana, macrophylla, jacquelineae, aristolochioides, inermis, tenuis, etc.), then it's a potential massive waste, not only supporting an illegal process but removing possibly critical new generations from the wild, new genetic variation from that wild population, failing to maintain potentially valuable new clones and localities in cultivation to help the captive propagation system, and certainly not helping remove the issue of availability to those like in your area who may or may not have access to getting them elsewhere. If you are already strapped with time and expenses fighting other issues, trying to raise a bunch of picky little plants from seed is also going to become a lot more expensive for you long before it could have any benefit.
    I can't take the time to outline every single issue I have with any claim about how it's in any way good to purchase those seeds, but I flatly can't agree with any reason for doing so.
    Concerning filing complaints and monitoring sites, attempting to change regulations and laws and so on, I may not have much reach yet myself, but that's among the places I hope to build my own business toward (starting with, if I can't afford a legal plant, I simply don't get it yet and focus on propagating and selling what I do have until I have space and money to afford the new plant, and work on educating others where I can to act in responsible manners as well), and I am a member of communities that have people who do police those sites and alert us so that illegal posts can be flagged and taken down, people who do go out to assess populations and assign appropriate protective statuses to them, those who have the leverage to petition governments etc. to increase repercussions for poaching, educate on value of conservation, etc. Attempts have started, but every person who continues to help the underhanded trade hampers those attempts already in place.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    In order of replies:
    1. Sincerely, just about any plant that is actually a strictly highland species is not one I would suggest trying. Those plants with broad altitudinal distributions and thus classified "intermediate" plants would be better to start, then species like the relatively "low-elevation" highlanders like N. ventricosa, sibuyanensis, maxima, robcantleyi might be next; some have success with plants like hamata and edwardsiana but I would not spend large amounts of money on one before less expensive species are thriving. I would not spend money on anything more picky until other plants have been thriving for a while.
    I thought I mentioned this. 3 x ventricosa, 4 x reinwardtiana(HL), several hybrids involving intermediates/highlanders like robcantleyi x veitchii(HL), mirabilis var globosa x hamata, etc (there are others, just mentioning off the top of my head) are doing well for over a year now. There are even more who have been doing well for over six months, but not a year yet. I am not exactly fond of throwing away money on expensive plants unless I think the gamble makes sense. Heck the mira survived our crazy summer outside the flow of mist and getting direct sunlight for three months! Literally survived on the ambient humidity from the misters and no cooling. That is why it is looking like that, but it is ALIVE anyway. I had thought I had a rajah x veitchii thriving for over a year at least when I spent money on more highlanders, but that is probably not a rajah x veitchii, though I did dig up old photos of the same plant with more rajah like leaves and tubbier pitchers, so I'm now wondering if I have the wrong plant or something in my growing conditions causes it to grow differently.

    Regardless, I am not going on a thoughtless acquisition spree.

    For the most part, fatalties happen within a week of arrival. Some more if they never manage to acclimatize (but this has been thankfully rare since the misters). Frankly, it is the same story with lowlanders too. I have a merrilliana with just two leaves since the last month or more, while a burbidgeae x veitchii (HL) that came with it is putting out new leaves. Go figure. Northiana died. Flat out. Just refused to acclimatize at all. Dead within a day or two - probably came in infected or something. Same happened with a sibuyanensis x robcantleyi. Arrived with relatively minor damage, potted it up, it started going black immediately, dead. One lowland, another intermediate/highland cross. Both similar cost. Same result.

    The brutal summer has passed. Going forward, it is monsoon, then October can get hot, but nights are cooler, then winter, by next summer, I'll be living somewhere that I can cool MUCH better than my current balcony. So, in other words, with any luck, things are set to get easier to grow cool loving plants. That is why I am attempting it now.

    I'm pretty certain that any plants I'm killing, I'm not doing it because of temperatures at this point, which is why I'm trying to push boundaries. I can't move to a cooler place. If I am to grow these fascinating plants, I can prepare to my best ability and give it my best shot. If it fails, so be it.

    2. The link you gave gives evidence to my point; those plants look nothing like yours beyond the natural similarities due to jamban, inermis, and dubia all being in the same species group and relatively closely related. The pitcher shape is different, the leaves are on yours more ovular lanceolate than the oblanceolate shape of jamban, and the stocky stem characteristic yours has doesn't show in the link. Should the stems on yours start blushing red, that's another key trait of either inermis or dubia.
    Ah got it. The possibility of natural hybrids was mentioned. Probably because they saw the same things you did. Thanks. I like them anyway and maybe if they are hybrids, they will grow easier for me, so probably better like this.

    3. The cost to you should not factor, period, in the ethical or legal issues with purchasing poached seeds. There are several CP sources that ship worldwide and relatively cheaply, with all the permits available needed for their end as well, and of the two that come in right off the top of my head (Wistuba and BestCarnivorousPlants) they have the majority of CP species between them that one might want to try, and if one does the wise thing and buys a couple, makes sure they are actually doing well in one's conditions, and then order more then one can also start to captive-propagate those species and build a local source for them so that others don't have the issue/temptation of not having anything other than illegal sources to go for. Should you happen to be caught by government authorities for breaking not only import/export laws, but also endangered species regulations and CITES, the cost of that fine might not leave you with a difference of a few or even a few hundred bucks, but potentially thousands, tens of thousands, or even jail time (we've got the articles on this site to show it happens, and can be nasty. And every country has regulations along these lines, not just here in the US).
    Also, if you don't already have a perfect environment to raise especially the typically critically endangered highland species that everyone wants and are the most targeted (ie. edwardsiana, macrophylla, jacquelineae, aristolochioides, inermis, tenuis, etc.), then it's a potential massive waste, not only supporting an illegal process but removing possibly critical new generations from the wild, new genetic variation from that wild population, failing to maintain potentially valuable new clones and localities in cultivation to help the captive propagation system, and certainly not helping remove the issue of availability to those like in your area who may or may not have access to getting them elsewhere. If you are already strapped with time and expenses fighting other issues, trying to raise a bunch of picky little plants from seed is also going to become a lot more expensive for you long before it could have any benefit.
    I can't take the time to outline every single issue I have with any claim about how it's in any way good to purchase those seeds, but I flatly can't agree with any reason for doing so.
    Concerning filing complaints and monitoring sites, attempting to change regulations and laws and so on, I may not have much reach yet myself, but that's among the places I hope to build my own business toward (starting with, if I can't afford a legal plant, I simply don't get it yet and focus on propagating and selling what I do have until I have space and money to afford the new plant, and work on educating others where I can to act in responsible manners as well), and I am a member of communities that have people who do police those sites and alert us so that illegal posts can be flagged and taken down, people who do go out to assess populations and assign appropriate protective statuses to them, those who have the leverage to petition governments etc. to increase repercussions for poaching, educate on value of conservation, etc. Attempts have started, but every person who continues to help the underhanded trade hampers those attempts already in place.
    I hear you. I may not agree, but I respect your intent.

    About depriving potential people who can give highlanders better conditions.... well, new ground isn't broken by coloring between lines. This temperature racism is a bit .... Reading here on the forums, plenty of people growing highlanders in cool places have a better kill rate than me. Not fair that they can try but not me.

    Edit: above is only half a joke. Do you really think people growing in cool places are able to grow all the highlanders they buy to maturity?
    Last edited by Vidyut; 07-10-2019 at 02:59 AM.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    Wait. Species under CITES? Those aren't the seeds I purchased. I haven't purchased any poached plants to the best of my knowledge, unless you think reputed nurseries are in the smuggling business.

    Edit: Wistuba doesn't actually offer shipping to India. I had an email conversation with Andreas and he was game to give it a shot if I was. Haven't got around to it. The bulk of my plants (including macrophylla and jamban) are from BCP (but not seeds). The Alisaputrana is from BE and along with several others is purchased via Roraima (who also ship to India). the "rajah x veitchii" and some others are from CZ, but I don't trust them anymore. Mira and rajah-to-come is from "exceptional_plants" on Ebay. Edwardsiana is TC. All proofs of purchase present.

    Feel free to report any of my plant sources for selling endangered species. Good luck.

    I think you have a pretty low opinion of me. Most of the interpretations are rather.... in bad light, so to say.

    Edit2: do report the germination rates you get from seeds you buy from the "reputed nurseries"
    Last edited by Vidyut; 07-10-2019 at 03:22 AM.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    @hcarlton For what it is worth, here's an opportunity for a grower to brainstorm an interesting growing challenge, and you're wasting the opportunity criticizing me. There is a possibility to test experimental ideas at zero cost to yourself in an environment drastically different from yours. You seem more prejudiced that I DON'T do it than interested in the plants or growing and keen to see opportunity to criticize and ignore indications to the contrary. For eg "anything other than illegal sources to go for" - if you'd even paused to think a moment, you yourself have engaged with me on the subject of that dubious rajah x veitchii - is there a way to obtain it "illegally"? I've talked of numerous hybrids. Do you seriously think I don't buy from the nurseries and someone managed to poach a "sibuyanensis x robcantleyi" for me from some jungle?

    Where is this hostility coming from?

    I'm more interested in if your vast experience of growing plants well has actually resulted in insights on what someone could do or don't in my situation. Surely if you care for them so much, you could trouble yourself to think up how to save them now that the poor things are already my victims? Not like telling me how unwise it is will turn back time and make the plants vanish from my balcony to some cold terrarium. Does your experience inform you on things that help or harm? That is my interest.

    Let us start with a clean slate or finish up any more disapproval you have and be done with it and start with a clean slate.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    As my olive branch, I offer that you don't need a lot of reach to crack down on the online sellers. Just some persistence. Simple determined email writing to conservation authorities will do the trick. A good strategy is to write to the official email (Edit: try lawenforcement@fws.gov - this is US, so not sure if they care about other countries, but one trick you can do is cc authorities from the countries the seeds are collected from and report that Ebay is supporting these illegal sales to the US), and then use the Information Act (I think that is what it is called in the US) to follow up asking what action was taken. An online petition addressed to Ebay signed by growers from several countries can also be effective. Needless to say, you can add my name to it as a grower from India. I can also try and find lawyers for you in the US who will take up such causes pro-bono - may be hard - I'm not familiar with the US legal scene, but can try to find out through people, etc - legal route will probably be the most headache for you and the email writing and follow up route will be the easiest. This isn't such a big thing. You don't need reach. Govt departments have to respond to tips of information from citizens.

    I am happy to help you END the poached seeds scene to the best of my ability. I am not happy to not buy something at great cost to myself, when it will make no dent to the end result.
    Last edited by Vidyut; 07-10-2019 at 05:10 AM.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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