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Heliamphora

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Heliamphora pulchella (Akopan Tepui, Venezuela)

Heliamphora pulchella (Akopan)

Heliamphora pulchella (Akopan)

The Beautiful Heliamphora (from pulcher-beautiful) certainly earns its namesake with its attractive foliage which looks almost ornamental in habitat. This species is a must for people who like compact clumping plants!

H. pulchella is one of the most ecologically adaptable, variable, and widely distributed taxa in the genus. It is found between 1850-2550m elevation in a range of habitats throughout the desiccated Chimanta Massif and surrounding tepuis- from marshy savannahs, to open clearings in Bonnetia forests and scrub vegetation, and in hummocks near shallow ponds and streams. In some situations, the plants can be completely submersed in water for a period of time!

The foliage is generally stout (up to 12cm) with a wide opening that can be heart or bell shaped due to an incurve in the back from which the spoon emerges. The spoons are typically helmet shaped and held directly over the pitcher opening. A narrow slit at the front of the pitcher regulates the water level. Distinctive long retentive hairs are present in the pitcher interior that are often paired with a fine coating of small hairs. This gives the interior a beautiful silvery sheen. In some populations the long hairs are variously absent from portions of the interior, or completely non present. Both foliage and spoon are an even shade of dark red, maroon, or purple in strong light. In lower light, the foliage becomes a muted green, sometimes with faint red veins in the upper section.

Several clones of this diminutive plant are offered and all have their merits. Though somewhat slow growing and favoring lower light than typical of the genus, H. pulchella is an excellent choice for the small species lover.

(Wistuba, A., T. Carow, P. Harbarth & J. Nerz, 2005)

 

 

   
 
 
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