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Classification, origin and description
First name: Darlingtonia californica Torr., 1853
Endemic plant of North Carolina - Oregon (United States). It is the only species of the genusDarlingtonia. It is also called a cobra plant for the typical nectariferous language similar to that of a cobra.
Darlingtonia is an insectivorous plant, the rhizome is short and creeping; the ascids (i.e. modified leaves) can be from a few cm to over 1 m in height, are in the shape of an emerald green expanded tube, wrapped around themselves with a characteristic apex cover that covers a small opening. In this way, rainwater cannot enter to dilute the slimy liquid, a sort of gastric juice produced by the pitcher.
Lopercolo is thickly covered with white and transparent spots. The flowers are isolated, from greenish yellow to reddish brown, placed on long stems several tens of cm. Inside the operculum are located nectariferous glands that attract insects. When they are about to resume their flight, they head towards the light and collide against the dome, until they fall to the bottom of the ascidian where they will be digested by the plant thanks to the enzymes secreted by cells that make up the internal walls.
Cobra plant - Darlingtonia californica (By no automatically readable author. NoahElhardt presumed (according to copyright claims). - No automatically readable source. Presumed own work (according to copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org /w/index.php?curid=656124)
Cobra plant - Darlingtonia californica (photo https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:NoahElhardt)
Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions
Temperature: in summer it stops the growth of the pitchers. During the growing season, it does not bear high temperatures. Their roots are always immersed in icy water courses, although the air temperature in the summer can exceed 30 ° C (cool the soil with rainwater ice).
Light: in winter it can be kept in the sun while in summer it must be grown in a humid and shady environment.
Environmental watering and humidity: in summer, water every day with fresh water; during the winter rest period suspend watering, while keeping the substrate always humid.
Substrate: the ideal substrate is made up of 2/3 of peat and 1/3 of perlite or quartz sand. Repotting is recommended only towards the end of winter or early spring.
Fertilizations and special precautions:
Propagation can take place by seed (use fresh seeds), stolone (most used method) or cutting, putting a whole pitcher in wet sphagnum.