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December 15, 2018
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New England Carnivorous Plant Society

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"The mission of the New England Carnivorous Plant Society shall be to share, to gain knowledge of, and to achieve expertise in all phases of growing, education, appreciation, and conservation of carnivorous plants in both culture and in native habitats."

AnnouncementsWhat's New
NECPS January Meeting

The next meeting of the NECPS will be held on January 19 at 12:30 PM at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, Providence, RI (Directions).

This month's meeting will feature our annual, and highly anticipated, Nepenthes Cutting & Propagation Workshop led by NECPS President Dave Sackett

Members are encouraged to bring in an overgrown Nepenthes or two that need cutting back. The success of the Cutting Workshop depends on having our members bring in their overgrown plants!

First there will be a class on taking vine cuttings of Nepenthes and on the "how and why" of cutting propagation. Afterwards, using the plants supplied by members and materials supplied by the NECPS, we will take multiple cuttings of plants for each member to take home and grow! We hope that we can all expand our collections, and make sure that plants are always available to society members.

Click here to see a video of last year's show!
All members will get FREE Nepenthes cuttings to take home!

The NECPS is looking for a new design for the tee shirts. January 19th meeting would be the deadline for any submission(s). The design can be labeled with artist signature but should not be copy-written. We plan to vote on our favorite by the January meeting and will plan to roll out on tee shirts for April 2019. For Submissions contact Shaun Montminy.

The Boston Flower Show

Plans are once again to have a booth at the Boston Flower Show. The show will be held March 13 through the 17 at the Seaport World Trade Center,200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA

If you would like to help out with our booth or display at the Boston Flower Show, please contact Emmi Kurosawa, cc Shaun Montminy if anyone has plant donations. We need hungry VFT's as we are going to try a live feeding event this year!

The Plants That Made Me Quit My Job

Emmi Kurposawa's paintings are being featured on A thousand Different Colors, the creative community for everyone.

I was working at a pharmaceutical company for the longest time, saving lives and making a happy living for myself. Well, until I met "carnivorous plants" at the Boston Flower Show. They were weird, wild and wonderful! They come in different shapes and colors. Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundews, bladderworts, and corkscrew plants. Each has developed a unique way of attracting, capturing, and digesting insects. I was completely awed by their singularity and beauty. After joining the New England Carnivorous Plant Society who displayed the carnivorous plants at the Boston Flower Show, the size of my collection increased exponentially. The more I learned about them, the more I got pulled into the sinister and mysterious world of carnivorous plants. Next thing you know, I quit my job, and started painting botanical art as one of ways to express my passion for carnivorous plants. As I studied each plant more carefully with the accuracy required for botanical art, my curiosity about these plants became inexorable. I now study carnivorous plants in a graduate program, working on my PhD. For better or worse, my obsession with carnivorous plants has changed my life!

Read The Fully Story

Got News?
Have an idea for a presentation or demonstration? If there is a meeting or other event that the NECPS will be participating in, or some other carnivorous plant related news item that you would like to share? Please forward the information to the Webmaster so that it can be included here.

Missing our newsletter? Has your email address changed? You can update your email address or other contact information by visiting the Contact page.

Membership Dues are payable at or before the January meeting.

Venus Flytraps Kill With Chemicals Like Those From Lightning Bolts

PORTLAND, OREGON: Venus flytraps have a well-known way of dispatching their victims: They snare inquisitive insects that brush up against trigger hairs in their fly-trapping pods. But now, physicists have discovered that the triggering process may involve the release of a cascade of exotic chemicals similar to the whiff of ozone that tingles your nose after a lightning bolt.

To study this process, scientists used an electrical generator to ionize air into a "cold plasma," which they then gently blew toward a flytrap in their lab.

Normally, the flytrap's closure is caused by an electrical signal created when two or more trigger hairs are brushed. But highly reactive chemicals in the plasma stream such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and ozone had the same effect, even when they were blown at the pods too gently to trigger them by motion, they reported here last week at the annual Gaseous Electronics Conference.

It's a useful finding because the types of reactive oxygen and nitrogen molecules in cold plasmas play a major role in biological processes, including cell signaling. But normally, such processes have to be studied through complex analyses of cell cultures. With the Venus flytrap, they can be observed directly, when the pods snap shut.

Understanding such processes, the scientists say, could help biomedical researchers and aerospace engineers create a new generation of "intelligent materials" that can use similar signaling processes to change shape as needed, much as the Venus flytrap reflexively snaps shut when it senses its prey. It's an open and shut case for new research, including a more detailed examination of exactly how the various parts of the plant know how to spring shut at just the right moment.

Read the Full Story here.

Pitcher Plants Build Own Communities

Study finds samples from opposite sides of the globe are surprisingly similar

The natural world is full of examples of what biologists call convergent evolution - instances where unrelated creatures developed similar traits in response to similar evolutionary pressures. But can that convergence include the interactions of different species that evolve under similar conditions? The early evidence, says Leonora Bittleston, suggests the answer is yes.

As part of a study conducted while she was a graduate student in the labs of Naomi Pierce, the Sidney A. and John H. Hessel Professor of Biology, and Anne Pringle, the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Bittleston found that the "miniature ecosystems" housed in pitcher plants from opposite sides of the world are strikingly similar, suggesting that there may be something about the plants themselves that drives the formation of those communities. The study is described in an Aug. 28 paper published in eLife.

"These plants, the Nepenthes in Southeast Asia and Sarracenia in North America, evolved completely independently . and because they're like little aquatic islands, they can be used as model systems to study community ecology," said Bittleston, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "They have a whole little microcosm inside them - even though they eat insects, there are aquatic insects that can only survive in pitcher plants, but there are also aquatic mites, protozoa, rotifers, fungal yeasts, and bacteria."

To capture an image of that community, Bittleston, Pierce, Pringle, and their collaborators from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah and the University of Malaya turned to a process called DNA barcoding, which uses a short section of DNA to identify different species.

Read The Full Story

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