CP's in the wild

How are CPs doing in the wild?

Drosera Glanduligera
Australian carnivorous plant habitat

In the USA, wetlands are almost completely gone. Only 3 to 5% of Sarracenia habitat remains, so the plants are in trouble. There are some preservation attempts being made, but even if completely successful will only save a few remnant stands. It is ironic that the fire prevention perspective in the United States is that all fires are bad, because many environments withstand and even benefit from periodic burns. Fire prevention often results in lands becoming clogged with dense growth. Eventually the land does catch fire and the resulting conflagration is disastrously hot and violent, even for plants adapted for fires. Elsewhere, things are just as bad. The values of wetlands (as natural water treatment facilities and flood prevention) are not recognised, and so are 'developed' (drained) whenever possible. Some of the most flamboyant species such as Nepenthes live in the jungles of Malaysia and nearby islands, where slash-and-burn agriculture threatens them with extinction. Many species are already extinct.

Where can I see wild CPs?

If you have the energy, you can probably find them in your own state or country. In Australia, most are found in the coastal regions, or various suitable inland areas. Some inconspicuous genera (such as Utricularia) occur in every state. In Europe, Pinguicula species are more readily accessible. Ask people on the CP mailing list(click on info sources tab of tips page) , read the literature, or consult your local herbarium to find the site nearest you. When trying to find places to visit, remember that tips much older than five years are often unreliable because land development is gobbling up remaining habitats. Since CPs grow in clean, unspoiled locations, even if you can't find them you are usually guaranteed a pleasant time searching. Remember to be wary of our many venomous snakes, dangerous bogs, and blood-sucking creatures (mosquitoes, leaches, etc.)!

May I collect CPs from the wild?

When you find CPs, you should take photographs but leave the plants alone. There are so few plants left that field collection is contributing to their endangerment. I know, I know, when you find the plants it is exciting and you want to take them home. But, mostly they are so easily available from other growers that grabbing plants from the wild is almost never justifiable. Leave them be! Besides, the plants you would bring home are very often loaded with pests and are not acclimatised to artificial cultivation. You often encounter people who cite habitat destruction as reasons to collect plants. Also it is said that having the plants in various collections would help to prevent extinction of the species - by providing a source for re-population. But these are transparent attempts to soothe the conscience of the collector. Finally, in many cases, field collection is illegal and carries fines of thousands of dollars.