The Q&A Archives: Sarracenia Pitcher Plants

Question: What are Sarracenia pitcher plants and what do they look like? Are hybrids available?

Answer: The pitcher plant family is Sarraceniacea, which includes Darlingtonia and Sarracenia. The most common is S. purpurea, next is S. minor, and there's one classified as 'sweet' (S. rubra), and one classified as 'yellow' (S. flava). Darlingtonia is a hooded pitcher plant and Sarracenia is a lidded pitcher plant.

A pitcher plant produces a tube with a hood or lid, usually brightly colored, and filled with an attractive fluid to attract insects. Once insects enter the flower they drown and are consumed by the pepsin contained in the fluid. Pitcher plants are sometimes called Cobra Plants because of the snake's head appearance of the flowers. Sarracenia has green tubes streaked with purple. These flower tubes sometimes reach 2' in height.

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