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Darlingtonia californica forma viridiflora

Darlingtonia viridiflora.jpg

Range: Sierra Nevada, northern California

This taxon is in every aspect a dead ringer for your typical cobra lily, but for one detail: color. It grows alongside its normal brethren in few locations (currently known in the wild from only a single location in the Sierra Nevada luckily protected on a privately owned property), in cool seeps and stream edges. Leaves may exceed 90 cm tall as in the type form with the same cobra- shaped structure. Coloration however is entirely green to yellowish (more notably yellow often in the tongue), including the flowers, in which the typically red petals remain fluorescent yellow.

Cultivation: grow in a 1:1 sphagnum/perlite mix or well-aerated perlite/peat soil, kept very moist with cold or heavily oxygenated water (preferably both, though mountain forms may tolerate warmer water so long as it is well aerated). In the summer, keep the plant in the 60-80°F range (mountain forms more tolerant of high air temperatures than coastal forms). In winter as plants go dormant, place in a very cool location for a period of at least 3-5 months until spring returns. Seeds should preferably be fresh and very new seed can be sown on the soil surface without treatment, or to ensure germination submit to a 4-week minimum cold stratification. Grow in partial shade (not strongly recommended outside of providing cool conditions) to full sun, but keep pots shaded if possible to retain cool root conditions.

Lifespan and reproduction: long-lived perennial. Reproduces naturally through seed and underground stoloniferous offshoots from the rhizome, but can be propagated via division or rhizome cuttings.


This anthocyanin-free form of cobra lily was originally discovered and described by Barry Rice, who registered it under the cultivar name 'Othello' in reference to "the green-eyed monster" of envy in that tale. The Latinized form name was coined by Stewart McPherson, and is a genetically recessive stable trait. 

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