The Main Plant entry for Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia)

This database entry exists to show plant data and photos that apply generically to all Pitcher Plants.

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Miscellaneous: Carnivorous


Photo gallery:
Location: MOBOT -   St LouisDate: 2013-02-25
By jmorth
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Location: ElkhartDate: 2019-08-26Baby Pitcher
By JayZeke
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Location: Longwood Gardens Conservatory, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania USADate: 2017-11-24
By csandt
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Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on May 20, 2013 11:35 PM

"Sarracenia is a genus of carnivorous plants indigenous to the eastern seaboard, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the south-east United States (only S. purpurea occurs in cold-temperate regions). The plant's leaves have evolved into a funnel in order to trap insects, digesting their prey with proteases and other enzymes.

The insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the lip of pitchers, as well as a combination of color and scent. Slippery footing at the pitchers' rim, aided in at least one species by a narcotic drug lacing the nectar, causes insects to fall inside, where they die and are digested by the plant as a nutrient source.

All Sarracenia trap insects and other prey without the use of moving parts. Their traps are static and are based on a combination of lures (including color, scent, and nectar) and inescapability – typically the entrances to the traps are one-way by virtue of the highly adapted features listed above.

Most species use a combination of scent, drugged nectar, waxy deposits (to clog insect feet) and gravity to topple insect prey into their pitcher. Coniine, an alkaloid drug narcotic to insects, has been discovered in the nectar-like secretions of at least S. flava. Once inside, the insect finds the footing very slippery with a waxy surface covering the walls of the pitcher. Further down the tube, downward-pointing hairs make retreat impossible, and in the lowest region of the tube, a pool of liquid containing digestive enzymes and wetting agents quickly drowns the prey and begins digestion. The exoskeletons are usually not digested, and over the course of the summer fill up the pitcher tube."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Pitcher plant by sparrott Aug 2, 2020 6:45 PM 12
Help with brown leaves by Eagrant Jul 9, 2020 8:11 AM 2
Growing Carnivores from Seeds by Macrocentra Jun 22, 2020 5:21 PM 14
Hungry for History: Our Carnivorous Collection Longwood Gardens by crawgarden May 15, 2020 7:25 PM 0
Need an identification of this structure on Sarracenia purpurea by Cluelessmidwestern Mar 24, 2020 12:13 PM 2
Grow Lights and Greenhouses. by BotanicExotics Feb 25, 2020 11:57 AM 5
Growing CP's from seeds by BotanicExotics Feb 19, 2020 6:06 PM 4
Super smelly compost bin by Dalorean Feb 25, 2020 4:55 PM 45
Why don't Venus flytraps eat their pollinators? by crawgarden May 28, 2020 2:38 PM 2
Is this a sarracenias and if so which? by Southamerica Jan 25, 2020 2:26 PM 2

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