This weekend, I stepped into a unknown world of carnivorous plants. I visited the infamous, yet undiscovered, world of Redleaf Exotics on Moffat Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn with my friend, Christopher. I have admired the plants grown by Domonick Gravine for some time. We all know the Venus fly trap (Dionaea species), but I have never seen a variety of the Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes species). He has been collecting, growing, and sowing seeds of these plants for some time in a greenhouse in the back of his home.
Carnivorous plants enjoy a worldwide distribution and are grown best in either greenhouses or in sunlight with a spraying mist. These are typically bog plants – his are grown on sphagnum moss. I have never seen such a variety of plant species nor have I seen them grown in the wild. There were North American pitcher plants (Sarracenia), but mostly the tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes). I could see why Domonick grows these plants – they are the monarchs of the carnivorous world.
I admire his zeal and enthusiasm as his knowledge of these plants were beyond reproach. These plants represent the extremes of evolution. As I become more intrigued, I have read the few books on carnivorous plants. I read that there are lower and upper pitcher plants; the largest single pitcher plant held 3 1/2 quarts of water.
Domonick is living his dream. He will soon move Redleaf Exotics to Tennessee on his 14 acres. You can always order them on his website: www.redleafexotics.com
This visit was beyond my wildest dreams. I am blessed and grateful to have experienced it.