Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A carnivorous plant - Darlingtonia Californica

I must regress - Just north of the town of Florence, Oregon is a State Wayside dedicated to the Darlingtonia Californica, a plant also known as Cobra Lily. Little is know about this interesting plant but it grows in abundance in this area and the State of Oregon has built an interesting wayside in it's honor. If you're in the area, be sure to stop and wander among these plants. The are one of the few carnivorous plant species, feasting on insects. Unfortunately they are very particular to their environment and grow mainly in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Below are some pictures and more information which we received during our visit.

The Darlingtonia State Wayside is a botanical preserve that allows visitors to get up close and observe these interesting plants.  It is the only State Park property dedicated to a single plant species. The wayside if free and is only a very short walk from the parking area.

To protect the plants and yet allow visitors to view them, the State has built these walkways alongside but above the plants. The Cobra Lily thrive best in a bogs and prefer their roots to be colder than their stems. They trap and digest insects. It's range varies from sea level to 6,000 feet in elevation.

The plants flower in May and June with hanging blooms of yellow and red, and produce up to a dozen leaves per plant. The erect seed pods last most of the summer.

Insects are lured into the leaf opening under the hood by nectar on the colorful "petal like" appendages and edges of the openings. Once inside the hood, the insects are confused by the many transparent areas in the upper part of the leaves which appear as exits. The insects cannot keep a foothold on the glassy smooth upper surface of the tube and eventually slide down the tube into a pool of liquid at the base of the leaf. The captive is then digested and absorbed through the plants thin lower walls.

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