Heliamphora tatei (Cerro Duida)
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Truly impressive Heliamphora with tall, sculptural foliage. A standout in any collection!
H. tatei is named after George Tate, one of the botanists that conducted the preliminary survey of Cerro Duida. The plants are found at elevations of 1700-2400m in Cerro Duida, Cerro Huachamacari, and Cerro Marahuaca. Initially, a second species that is now considered synonymous with H. tatei was described as H. tyleri. The confusion appearing to largely stem (pun intended) from one of the most unique characteristic of this plant- its ability to produce a tall self-supporting stem as it matures. These woody structures help raise the pitchers above the surrounding foliage of its scrubby or wooded habitat. The stems can be up to 2m tall!
There are several ways in which plants have adapted to stem growth. First, only a couple of live pitchers are held at a time, and dead ones detach easily to reduce weight and resistance. Additionally, the waist and drainage hole are at about one quarter of the length up the leaf so the water level within stays low. And lastly, the pitcher opening has a pronounced deep V slit at the front that aids with overflow.
The pitchers are typically up to 35cm in habitat (rarely more) and that size is attainable in cultivation. In fact, tatei is often the tallest species in the collection! The color is a uniform pale green (including spoon) maturing to apple or golden green. The dense lining of retentive hairs present in the interior of the opening gives the plants a pleasing silver sheen. Rarely, the conical spoon is red, sometimes accompanied by faint red veins or a stripe immediately below the long neck. The overall look of the foliage is tubular and sinuously curved.
Often growers are concerned about the stems of H. tatei. The plants rarely form these in cultivation, and an easy solution is to bury or cut off the lower portion of any stem that might develop when repotting. New roots will form at the base of the pitchers.
This slender, tall, and elegantly shaped species makes an outstanding addition to the collection! Growth rate is moderate.
Very nice. The plants appear more uniformly colored than the H. tatei plants from other mountains. They tend to form short stems only, if any.
In cultivation, interestingly they have proven to be more robust than plants from Huachamacare or Mharuaka.