Darlingtonia californica

  • Darlingtonia californica
  • Darlingtonia californica
per 10 seeds

Common name:
Cobra lily / California pitcher plant

Northern California and Oregon


The cobra lily is a carnivorous plant that grows along cold streams in California and Oregon, in the United States. The blade has the shape of the head of a cobra and has on the end a forked blade which suggests the tongue, hence the name cobra lily. When insects enter the plant, they fall into a bath of enzymes and bacteria that provide for the digestion. Escaping is very difficult because of the downward-facing hairs and the many false exits, so the real output is almost never found. 

The species is a carnivorous plant by the lack of nitrogen in the natural environment. By digesting insects, the plant still acquires its nitrogen and various minerals. 
The plant is hardy and can be well kept along a ditch or pond, or in a damp, sunny spot in the garden. On hot summer days, it is advisable to put some ice around the plant to cool the roots (these can die at high temperatures). Also make sure that the soil is constantly moist. In winter the plant dies off above ground, so cover the roots with a layer of straw or leaves.

Germination instructions:
Place seeds between damp Sphagnum moss in a plastic bag for 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Afterwards, press the moss with the seeds into a ground mixture of 60% Sphagnum and 40% river sand, and cover with foil. Keep it completely moisty and let it germinate on a warm, bright spot indoors.

Januari - juni

Photo 2: Terry Miller

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