Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sarracenia rhizome issues


Sarracenia rhizomes do strange things. This plant, a S. flava var. flava from Gotcha!, buried itself deep into the substrate (although the Sphagnum growing over it probably did not help). This spring, it put up a nice flower… and then nothing. When Sarracenia do this, it means the growing point has failed after the flower for some reason.


You can see where the growing point has died off in the above photo – the flower was at the centre of the rhizome. Note that a fungal pathogen has killed off this growing point. This does not necessarily mean the end of the plant – if it is healthy enough, the plant should activate growths elsewhere on the rhizome and regrow. In our case, the rhizome has sprouted in two areas – one on the side of the rhizome, and another underneath.


The biggest issue is then trying to save the offsets, as the pathogen can transfer from the diseased parent rhizome. The way that Sarracenia produce offsets from large rhizome pieces seems to help; the link between the parent rhizome and the offset is initially very tight, and can limit the offset’s exposure to the pathogen. In this case, there appears to be some diseased tissue present – I nonetheless potted it up in the hope that it will survive. The growth under the rhizome was not big enough to save.

S_flava_rubricorpora_pot edge

This is my Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora “Gotcha! Giant”. The rhizome has done two things here. First, it has produced an offset underneath the parent plant. It is a real pain when this happens, as it can be the equivalent of an impacted wisdom tooth. What can happen is that the new growth pushes up under the primary growing point and blocks its growth. Second, it has hit the edge of the pot. See this post for what can happen to rhizomes pushed up against the edge of pots.