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plants at the New York Botanical Garden
when he was 10 years old, and he began
collecting them soon after. Now, he has
one of the largest collections of carnivorous
plants in New England composed of
more than 30 species and hybrids. Some
of his plants are over 50 years old. He
has quite a few South American pitcher
plants (Heliamphora) growing in his
greenhouse, but his real love is the North
American pitcher plant (Sarracenia). He
has collected most of the species that are
native to the United States, many of them
rescued from construction sites and road
projects. " I have some tall yellow pitchers
(S. flava) that I collected in 1974 from
areas that are now gone, " he says. Pitcher
plants are most often found growing in
boggy meadow openings in southern pine
forests. " They really are fire dependent, "
he says. " Fire kills off the trees, provides
fertilizer and opens the bogs to sunlight. "
He only collects responsibly from the
wild with the permission of landowners,
and many of his plants are hybrids he
has propagated himself. " It takes about 5
to 10 years to get a nice-sized plant from
seed, " he explains. Newman grows most
of the southern natives in containers.
They are dormant in winter, spending
the cold months in his basement or in a
cool part of the greenhouse. When the
weather warms, they are brought outside
for the summer where they attract and
eat a multitude of small gnats, flies and
mosquitoes. " Wasps, hornets and yellow
jackets are their specialty, " he says.
Tricky Trappers
Each species of carnivorous plant has
developed its own methods of entrapment.
Pitcher plants are considered
passive, pitfall trappers. Insects are lured
into the funnel-shaped pitcher by sweetly
scented nectar, and as they feed, they
slide further down the neck of the plant
and are unable to climb back out due to
downward-facing hairs. Eventually, they
fall into a pool of liquid at the bottom,
drown and are digested by the plant.
Sundews (Drosera) are another plant in
Newman's collection. They are considered
semi-active trappers, a kind of living
flypaper. They lure their prey with sweet
drops of sticky glue dangling on tentacles
growing along their leaf edges. Once an
insect is stuck, the tentacles wrap around
to smother it, and it is slowly digested.
Hardy in zones 3-8, the round-leaf sundew
(D. rotundifolia) is a North American
native found growing wild in many states
including New Hampshire.
Butterworts (Pinguicula) are another
sticky trapper that exude glue from tiny
hairs all over their leaves, making them
appear shiny, like they have been oiled
or buttered. After an unlucky insect has
been caught, the leaf edges will roll over
to cup it while it is digested. Newman has
five species of butterworts, all native to
the southeast United States.
No carnivorous plant collection is
complete without some Venus flytraps
(Dionaea muscipula), and Newman has
quite a few. They are considered active
snap traps. Unlike the blood-thirsty
man-eater in " Little Shop of Horrors, "
these ground-hugging plants are quite
Dr. George Newman of Bedford has an extensive collection of carnivorous plants including hundreds of tall
pitcher plants, many of which he has grown from seed.
nhhomemagazine.com | November/December 2022 53
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November-December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November-December 2022

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