Cephalotus Follicularis (Albany Pitcher Plant) Carnivorous Plant
What is a cephalotus?
If you love carnivorous plants like venus fly traps, you will love the cephalotus. It is a rare beauty. The cephalotus follicularis is native to only one place in the whole world, in the south west corner of Western Australia near Albany. It thrives in moist peat soil near streams and in the wetlands. For hobbyists and collectors, the cephalotus follicularis is usually grown in a terrarium for carnivorous plants in places with cold winters.
The plant has two different types of leaves. Pitchers leaves or summer leaves are mainly produced during the growing season in spring, summer and autumn. Flat leaves or winter leaves are produced when plant growth slows down towards end of autumn. The plant is pretty much dormant in winter especially when temperatures are low. During this time, it will lose most of the pitchers and only a few flat leaves will remain on the plant.
The pitchers usually grows to about 5 cm in height. Any insects that happen to wander into the open pitchers will never be able to make their way out once they fall into the pitchers which are filled with digestive liquid.
This pitcher plant has very fragile root systems and does not like the roots being disturbed. Great care must be taken when transplanting this plant. In summer, the roots must not get heated up or dried up.
In early spring, a tall stem will emerge from the centre of the crown to produce small white flowers at the end of the stalk. Although the flowers are self fertile, it is a good idea to do some pollinating with a small brush if you want to collect some cephalotus seeds. These seeds will germinate pretty fast if they are sown right away.
The cephalotus can be propagated with leaf cuttings or root cuttings. This method of propagation will take a lot of patience as it can take many months before you are able to see new baby plants emerging.
Collecting cephalotus from the wild is prohibited. Plant nurseries that sell these plants now propagate them using tissue culture methods. To find a cephalotus follicularis for sale in the nursery is just as rare as finding the plant in the wild, so if you happen to find Albany Pitcher Plants for sale in your local nursery, just buy one or more! That was what I did many years ago and now I have dozen of plants and propagating the cephalotus has become a hobby.
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