• What is a Cephalotus?
    Commonly called the ‘Albany pitcher plant’, the genus Cephalotus includes one species Cephalotus follicularis. This plant is clearly carnivorous by virtue of the amazing pitcher like traps it produces to capture prey. The name Cephalotus comes from the Greek word for “with a head” and refers to the glandular head of the anthers and follicularis is derived from the latin word for small bag or sack and refers to the shape of the pitchers.

    Cephalotus is a small evergreen perennial. It produces two types of leaves, lanceolate, petiolate non carnivorous photosynthetic leaves and carnivorous pitcher shaped traps. These leaves are produced from an underground rhizome and form a rosette, it is not uncommon as the plant matures for there to be many growth points off a branching rhizome.

    The carnivorous pitchers are born on petioles and are open at the top and contain a fluid into which the plant secretes digestive enzymes. At the top of the pitcher is a specialised rim, called the ‘peristome’, and also a lid which secretes nectar to attract insect prey. The prey, having fallen into the pitcher are eventually digested and the released nutrients are absorbed by the plant.

  • Where do Cephalotus Come From?
    Cephalotus are found only in a thin coastal band in Southwest Western Australia with their range extending from Augusta in the west to Cheynes Beach in the east.

    Cephalotus grows in swamps that are either permanently or seasonally moist, and most will not survive drying out completely. It may appear during the hottest parts of the year that the swamp may have dried out, however all Cephalotus swamps are fed by underground seeps and the plant has access to this moisture all year round.

  • What is the Conservation Status of Cephalotus?
    Cephalotus is classified as vulnerable under IUCN criteria. Three main factors have lead to a reduction in Cephalotus numbers in the wild - artificial drainage of wetlands, fire suppression and poaching.

    That said, Cephalotus has a number of sites in well managed National Parks and are not in immediate danger of extinction. Much more work needs to be done to survey remaining populations to understand fully the range and population sizes of this enigmatic species.

  • What is in situ Conservation and ex situ Conservation?
    Plants like Cephalotus can be conserved in a number of ways. One way, in situ conservation, safeguards their natural habitats so that the plants can continue to flourish in the wild. This can be done in a number of ways, including habitat management and controlled access. ex situ conservation involves maintaining the genetic diversity of plants in botanical gardens and nurseries by cultivating plant material of known provenance. Additional plants produced in this manner can be used as part of reintroduction programmes.

  • Can Cephalotus be grown at Home?
    Cephalotus is widely cultivated, however it is a plant that requires specific conditions to flourish . The best specimens are invariably produced when provided with the constant conditions and additional humidity of a cool greenhouse. They require good light, constant moisture, with a well drained compost consisting largely of peat moss with additions of sand and perlite common.

    A number of nurseries cultivate Cephalotus and other carnivorous plants. Please see the links page for some reputable suppliers of Cephalotus in your area. You can be certain that the nurseries listed do not collect material from the wild.

  • How do I know if a Cephalotus I buy is Artificially Propagated or taken from the Wild
    A number of rare species, or their seeds, can often be found for sale on eBay. In many cases, the material is taken directly from the wild, so caution is strongly advised. If buying from eBay, please take the time to investigate the source of the material, and if in doubt simply ask on one of the many online forums dedicated to the growing of these plants. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t worth taking the risk.

  • How you can help
    The most obvious way of assisting in the preservation of this amazing species is to avoid supporting the ongoing poaching of this plant from the wild. There is sufficient material in large numbers in cultivation at a reasonable price, to make poaching completely unnecessary. If you get the chance to view Cephalotus in the wild, remember that their habitats are fragile and care should be exercised not to damage any plants, take only photos and leave only footprints!!

  • Links to other pages about Cephalotus
    There are many excellent online resources on Cephalotus. The International Carnivorous Plant Society and Wikipedia are good starting points

    International Carnivorous Plant Society

    Wikipedia

  • The following groups and forums have active memberships and stimulating discussion and debate about this species


    www.terraforums.com

    www.cpukforum.com


C. follicularis