I am so excited about this... this weekend I reached my own personal Valhalla. I saw carnivorous plants growing in the wild here in Ontario.
Man, that is some super exciting shit! I'm still reeling from the thrill of it all. On the weekend we travelled north to rural Ontario to visit Mr. Risk's dad. He's the kind of guy who know's everything about everything... for real. He's not just one of those guys who thinks he knows everything about everything. I mean I can literally point to something randomly and he'll probably know what it is and something about its history.
So I said "I want to see some carnivorous plants because I know there are some in Saugeen County." and his response was "Ya I think I know where there are some growing."
So we hopped into the car and a few hours later, behold, a field of carnivorous plants! Okay it wasn't that easy because we did go too far and had a stop for crappy fish n' chips in Tobermory but eventually we did find it. Sadly it was starting to get dark by the time we got there so due to low light levels my photos aren't the best they could be.
Dear god that place was beautiful! It was really the best conservation area I have ever been to. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to lay on the boardwalk and stare at the tiny, beautiful sundews forever. I would love to go back and spend the day exploring. When we first arrived I practically ran to the area where the carnivores were. At first I couldn't find any but then when I spotted the first Sarracenia that was it... My eyes adjusted and I saw they were everywhere! Just amazing. It was so cool to see them growing in the wild and see how colouration, shape and growth habits change depending on the varying conditions. I still can't believe such a thing grows here in Ontario. And so far north. That just blows my mind.
I would have to say that my interest in sundews really overshadowed the pitcher plants. Their tiny size made them difficult to spot amongst the other plants. But when I did find one I couldn't take my eyes off it. They are such interesting plants. I actually have a different species of sundew growing on my deck in a little container carnivorous bog I made, but there is something about seeing them growing wild. Just knowing they really are out there...
In The Savage Garden, Peter D'Amato writes the perfect description:
"If an insect ever evolved the brains to write a horror novel, the monster in that novel would probably be a sundew.
Sundews are innocent-looking and pretty, their delicate leaves sparkling with the promise of sweet nectar, but the foolish insect curious enough to give a sundew the slightest touch will suddenly find itself caught in a living nightmare. Doomed to a horrible death, the insect may struggle for a blessed few minutes or suffer for untold hours as it tried to break free of ensnaring, suffocating glue, grasping tenacles, and burning acids and enzymes; meanwhile, its precious bodily fluids are slowly sucked dry. Mother Nature hopefully had psychiatric care after she designed the sundews."
We were all going nuts jumping from plant to plant finding interesting insects and crazy flowers. Mr. Risk's dad continuously exclaimed "The more you look the more you find." I could tell he was also really having fun geeking out. I got so excited I forced some perplexed tourists into a little mini educational tour pointing out the various carnivores. They were all "Well what do ya know? Isn't that interesting. Honey, would ya look at that?" They didn't really care but at least now they have something interesting to tell the neighbours.