The locals call the flower “Frog Bonnets”. Grows in sandy areas in sun, on seeps, and occasionally will form floating masses in quiet water. Northwest Florida.
Sarracenia, from the Latin
purpurea, from the Latin, “purple”
Common Name, from the unusual shape of the leaf and its capacity for holding water.
Other common names include Common Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcher-Plant, Flytrap, Sidesaddle Plant, Huntsman’s Cup, Frog’s Britches.
Kingdom Plantae, the Plants o Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants) + Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons + Subclass Dilleniidae
Family Sarraceniaceae, the New World Pitcher Plants; 3 genera and 15 species of perennial herbs o Genus Sarracenia, the Pitcher Plants
Taxonomic Serial Number: 21993
A native, perennial, carnivorous herb with evergreen leaves arranged in pitchers. Pitchers grow to 17", wider at the mouth. Collects rainwater. Leaf color from bright yellow-green to dark purple and most commonly a middle variation with strong red venation. The leaves, or pitchers, are produced each year from stems arising from the rhizomes and remain evergreen unless unduly exposed.
The leaf edges have curled around and fused to form a liquid-holding vessel, similar in shape to a cornucopia. The leaves grow from a basal rosette and a “keel” provides structural reinforcement to each leaf so that the opening is always upright. The modified leaves perform the task of taking in nutrients required for photosynthesis. Pitcher Plant Flowers, Photo copyright 2002 by Earl J.S. Rook * Flower petals, sepals, and bracts rose pink to dark red. Flowers solitary, on a leafless stem, 1’-2’, arising from the rhizome.
Fruit a capsule with laterally winged seeds.
Rhizomes under soil may live 20-30 years.
Root systems of carnivorous plants tend to be weak and poorly developed. Since the roots function almost entirely as support, the highly acidic bog water doesn’t seem to bother them.
Insects are attracted to the colorful leaf rosettes that resemble flowers; the red lip of the “pitcher” is particularly attractive as a landing zone. Red veins that lead downward are baited with nectar. Following this lure, prey reach the curve of the tube, which is lined with fine hairs, all pointing downward. The animal falls into the pitcher, which contains rain, dew, and a digestive enzyme that soon dissolves the victim.
Classified as carnivorous rather than insectivorous because consumption includes not only insects but also isopods, mites, spiders, and the occasional small frog. While a diet of meat helps the plants remain vigorous, grow larger, and produce more flowers, it does not appear essential for the survival of individual plants. This unusual life style has evolved as a means of obtaining nutrients in places otherwise deficient in them. In addition to phosphorus and nitrogen, pitcher plants obtain vitamins and other trace minerals from their prey.
Unmistakable; nothing else like it in the North Country
Field Marks: upright, tubular, purplish leaf
Distribution: Florida to Mississippi, north to Virginia and Maryland, west to Iowa, and north to Manitoba, Hudson Bay, and Labrador.
Habitat: Bogs, savannas, and flat woods. The very wettest parts of bogs are favored, often restricting the species to the edges of bogs.