THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CARNIVOROUS PLANT SOCIETY CONFERENCE
By Colin and Tina Clayton
of Triffid Park
The 2nd I.C.P.S. Conference was held in Germany, from 30th May to 1st June, 1998, at the Botanical Gardens in the University of Bonn. Colin and Tina from Triffid Park attended the Conference as the representatives of the Victorian Carnivorous Plant Society. Having thoroughly enjoyed the 1st Conference in Atlanta, U.S.A. in 1997 we were looking forward with anticipation to this next one.
Approximately 80 delegates attended from many parts of the world. There were 21 speakers who gave lectures, on such diverse subjects as "The diffused centronomic chromosomes and speciation in Drosera", "The structure and function of digestive glands of carnivorous plants", "Invitro cultivation and experiments with carnivorous plants", Pinguiculas of the Caribbean", "Pinguiculas in Mexico", "Pinguiculas of the northern hemisphere", "Sarracenia species in southeastern United States", "The biology and protection of Aldrovanda", "Utricularia species in India", "Droseras in South Africa", "Droseras in Brazil", and four lecturers who spoke about Nepenthes in Borneo, Sumatra and Irian Jaya. The subjects were illustrated by some excellent slide programmes, particularly those on Nepenthes.
The Lecturers came from countries such as Japan, Israel, England, U.S.A., India, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, and the European countries of Switzerland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany.
Unfortunately some of the lectures were far too technical and complex for the average carnivorous plant enthusiast to even begin to understand, but our patience was rewarded by some other extremely interesting topics.
During the three day Conference an exhibition of carnivorous plants was on display in the Botanical Gardens, which was also open to the general public. This was put together with stock from the Botanical Gardens as well as from members of the German Carnivorous Plant Society. Colin and Tina were also given the opportunity to visit the collection of carnivorous plants housed at the Botanical Gardens, which was extremely well looked after and of a very high standard.
About a dozen of us took a post Conference trip on the Tuesday by bus from Bonn into the countryside, where we were taken to see a very old castle and had a delicious lunch in a courtyard of a private home in a small vineyard by the Mosel River.
We had a very interesting and enjoyable stay in Bonn, and look forward to the 3rd I.C.P.S. Conference, wherever and whenever that may be.
After the Conference we drove across to Holland to visit some large wholesale carnivorous plant nurseries. Unfortunately we are not at liberty to disclose the names of these nurseries, as they are production nurseries and do not have the resources to service the collector.
When we first visited Holland in 1994 most of the hundreds of thousands of fly traps grown in Holland each year were produced from mature bulbs or corms dug out of the swamps in America. Upon returning in 1996 a dramatic change had taken place. The difficulty of obtaining the enormous volume of plants required had forced them to turn to tissue culture. This was being done in enormous laboratories in India and Belgium. When after the conference this year we again returned, what a change had taken place. For when we visited the largest carnivorous plant nursery in the world, we were staggered to see 400,000 superb flytraps in 100-cm pots ready, or almost ready, for sale, and 10's of 1,000's of plants in community trays ready to replace them as they were sold. We were told that the majority of their stock was now grown from seed. These were obtained from a specialist plant breeder in Holland, who in the space of a few short years, has revolutionized the commercial flytrap industry. We then went to see this nursery with the most extensive flytrap breeding set-up imaginable. The first room had multiple plants of every known clone of flytraps, and hundreds of selected wild harvested plants, plus thousands of trial plants. As if this wasn't enough, the next growing area had thousands of mature flytraps being grown just to collect the seed from. Nepenthes were also on his breeding program. He had planted several 100 plants and allowed them to climb up 10 metre bamboo poles. Their sole task was to produce seed. Different clones and species were all being trialed. This nursery must surely be doing more to breed carnivorous plant's in the shortest time, than has happened in the history of our favorite plants.
This was a most stimulating place to finish off our European tour of carnivorous plants.