QUESTION: Hi Matt/Leah,
I was wanting to see if you have ever found a definitive way to identify a B-25 cultivar from other large flytraps if you loose a tag, etc... Are there any specific features that seem unique to them? We have several running around our nursery unlabeled, and I'm trying to round them up and get them labeled again. Any help appreciated. Hope business is going well this summer.
ANSWER: Hi Jeff!
Great to hear from you :) Business is going well this summer. Very busy! I hope the same is true for you and Jacob.
Unfortunately there isn't an easy way to distinguish B-52 from other large flytraps. When compared side-by-side with some others, they often do have unique characteristics, but nothing that is 100% predictable and reliable. When observing them over the course of a growing season, I could probably make distinction between B-52 and other giant flytraps. But other times of the year, B-52 can look very much like King Henry and other large flytraps. Sometimes B-52 remains low-growing, sometimes it grows more upright. So it can look like many different types of flytraps.
One somewhat scientific way to possibly distinguish B-52 from other giants is to count the number of marginal spines (teeth) on each trap lobe. I have noticed that most leaves of a certain variety will have a somewhat fixed number of marginal spines. So if you have some B-52s that are reliably labeled, you might try counting the number of marginal spines on each trap and then see if the plants with the lost tag have the same. That's the only suggestion I have. If it would help, could count a few of our B-52s to let you know how many marginal spines are on the traps.
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QUESTION: Thanks for the information. This is exactly what I was looking for. If you could count a couple of yours that would be helpful as a baseline. I have a few plants I know to be B-52, but we also have a large number of "Colorado Giants" running around which are B-52 x Low Giant. They will probably throw off ID some, but those tend to hug the ground more.
I just did a count of marginal spines on 5 different B-52 flytraps. Each one had between 14 and 18 marginal spines. That's quite a range, but there was only one lobe each that had 14 and 18. The majority were in the 16 to 17 range.
I also counted marginal spines on King Henry, and the numbers were similar. However, there was a noticeable difference in trap shape (B-52 traps are wider from the mid-rib to the outside edge) and the length of the marginal spines. In fact, B-52 has quite a big longer marginal spines than most of the flytraps I counted. Other giant flytraps I counted, like Megatraps and BCP Z11 had more marginal spines per trap (on the order of 20 to 21).
And yes, B-52 should be growing mostly upright this time of year. Anything that's still hugging the ground with all of its leaves isn't likely a B-52. But, of course, individual plants can vary in growth habit even when they are genetically identical, so none of this is a fool-proof way of identifying your B-52s with 100% certainty.
Unfortunately I don't grow the "Colorado Giant" cultivar, so I can't offer any insight as to the differences between B-52 and that B-52 cross.
Hope I've been somewhat helpful, at least!