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Got a carnivorous plant and you don't know what it is? Ask here!

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By BullwinkleII
Posts:  47
Joined:  Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:08 am
How do you actually go about the identification process to find the variety of CP?

The rest of this post is a frustrated rant, so you can probably skip it, or just re-read the title :)

I know people here will help, but what is the process?
Is there a process?
I like knowing stuff, and it occurs to me that not only do I have no idea, but I cant even think of where I might start to figure out how to learn.

Is there some database where you can tick...
flat growing - yes.
red - yes.
green - yes
sticky - no
has eyelashes that clamp shut when bugs walk on it - yes

If I walk out into my backyard, and look at one of the weeds I like to call lawn, is there a method I can use to positively identify it?

Currently all I can do is based on looking at photos. eg that's a Porche, that's a VW beetle, but it's all just by comparing pictures of stuff I have already assumed something about, or been told something about. I couldn't tell you how I know the difference between a Porch and a VW beetle. The headlights and back look similar. They both have number plates, some wheels, and seats etc.

I'm looking at a sticky CP that is quite red, but it's new shoots (it's late spring here) are bright green. If I was trying to identify it based on it's shape and colour, it might be a different thing altogether depending on what time of year I looked at it.

I'm sure people here can tell me what it is if I dropped a photo, but I'd really like to know how to know what it is, rather than just being told.

I'll probably want to be told as well :)

It's 3:20am, and I'm still no closer to learning something today :)
elaineo liked this
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By Panman
Posts:  2147
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
I think most people here identify plants based on experience. Those that have grown drosera spatulata and tokaiensis can tell them apart. I, on the other hand, cannot. I can differentiate temperate sundews as that is what I am experienced with. I can id most sarr species but get lost looking at hybrids. Other than looking at pictures, I think the phone-a-friend method is the best bet.
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By Apollyon
Posts:  1233
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
Very true, I think the ones who chime in are the ones who have experience growing a particular species or have researched it for one reason or another. I've been growing various Byblis species lately for instance so I'm able to differentiate them at a glance now. Hybrids I think are trickier. Genes can be expressed any which way. Nepenthes is just as tricky. I mean you can usually identify like a black miracle or rafflesiana cross but there are so many species and hybrids (and complex hybrids) that it'd be a guessing game for most people. People research what they like and see what else is out there and gain the familiarity. I'm inclined to agree with that.
By Adelae
Posts:  183
Joined:  Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:18 am
I want to second Botany in a Day--it's a great way to learn to look at what parts matter for identification. There's a book and a website: ... Plants.htm

Its main weakness is that it's very North America focused, so no help with identifying, like, Nepenthes.

For getting down to the species level, I think it's a combination of having seen the plant before (I know Drosera scorpioides because I have a pot of them) and knowing what you're most likely to find (like...lots of unlabeled mass-market Nepenthes are ventrata or miranda, and I once identified a butterwort species in the wild because it was the only one that grows in the area).
Apollyon liked this
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By BullwinkleII
Posts:  47
Joined:  Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:08 am
Thanks everyone.
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