black widow

So…there I was…watering my pitcher plants…when out jumped this little creature, a black widow spider. Note the bright red hourglass (or maybe psykter or Attic amphora) on the belly of the beast. I’d seen the unkempt-looking webs in the plants and was pretty sure they were in there. Finally, definite proof.

In this shot you can begin to make out the random character of the web they spin. Closer to cobweb than classical spiderweb, but it gets the job done.

What I thought was extra-interesting about the discovery is that the arachnid had set up household in a cluster of plants including the one with the label that you can begin to make out on the left of this image: Sarracenia Black Widow x flava var. ornata. Sarracenia Black Widow is one of the fetish plants du jour in the pitcher plant community, and it’s the mother of this hybrid made by Travis Wyman. (Thanks to Rob of The Sarracenia Project for the plant!)

A young seedlign of Sarracenia Black Widow x flava var. ornata

(That’s the seedling, to the right. Nice yellow colors, and hopefully the red tones will darken towards black later in the season and as the plant matures.)

Pitcher plant names can run towards the morbid: Abandoned Hope, Spatter Pattern, Gates of Hell, Green Monster. Black Widow fits right in. And this day the name wasn’t just flaccid posing. Like, you might want to think twice before adding Gates of Hell to your collection.

6 thoughts on “black widow”

  1. How ironic! Black widows are so plentiful here, that one doesn’t even need such a plant name around. Though at least no black widows at this house…so far. I think the centipedes and scorpions would not like the competition…

    Great closeup of the black widow “hourglass”, BTW.

  2. Those pitcher plants have really cool names, like something out of the Little Shop of Horrors – lol! And you’re right, messy webs are usually indicative of a black widow’s lair. That’s why it’s always a good idea to garden with gloves even though it can be a pain, just in case you get inflicted with some real pain…

  3. A perfect setting for the spider. Does it just lurk around the top of its namesake pitcher plants, waiting for insects to take a dive?

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