Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

There is no other native or naturalized plant in Illinois that resembles this carnivorous plant. There are other Sarracenia spp. in the southeastern U.S., but they are not found in this state. Across its wide range, different varieties of the Northern Pitcher Plant have been described; only the typical variety occurs in Illinois.
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Description

This native perennial plant consists of a rosette of ascending basal leaves. The highly modified leaves are tubular in shape, swollen toward the middle, and about 3-8" long. At the apex of each leaf, there is an erect flap that is open in the front; each flap has 2 lateral rounded lobes. The glabrous outer surface of each leaf is green with purple veins to reddish purple. Each leaf has a winged extension along its front; this is where the leaf margins have joined to form the tubular shape. The upper interior surface of each leaf is similarly colored; it is covered with stiff bristly hairs that point downward. These hairs impede the ability of small insects to escape from the interior of the leaf; some of them eventually fall into a watery fluid at the bottom of the leaf, where the nutrients of their decaying bodies are absorbed by this carnivorous plant. Extra-floral nectaries along the upper interior and rim of each leaf often lure such insects to their doom. From the center of the rosette, there develops a long naked stalk with a single nodding flower at its apex. This stalk is 8-20" long, green to reddish purple, and glabrous. The flower is 2–2½" across, consisting of 5 persistent sepals, 5 petals, a single pistil with a large umbrella-shaped style, and numerous stamens (which are largely hidden by the odd style). The sepals and petals are usually reddish purple (rarely yellowish green), while the persistent style is yellowish green. The sepals and petals are broadly ovate. The petals curve inward, covering the style; they soon fall off the flower. In contrast, only the tips of the sepals curve inward toward the center of the flower. Hooked stigmas are located at the "spokes" of the umbrella-like style. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer. Each flower is replaced by a 5-celled seed capsule. Each cell of the capsule contains several small seeds with pitted surfaces. The root system consists of a short crown with shallow fibrous roots and slender rhizomes. Vegetative offsets develop from the rhizomes, creating small colonies of plants. Under favorable conditions, individual plants can live 50 years or more.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Northern Pitcher Plant is rare in Illinois and state-listed as endangered; it is found only in the NE section of the state. The typical habitat is a bog, including graminoid (grassy) bogs. Populations of this unusual plant have declined because of habitat destruction, over-collecting, and possibly nitrogen deposition from air pollution (particularly nitrous oxide).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Native throughout most of the eastern U.S. and Canada with naturalized populations in California.

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Purple pitcher-plant occurs from Florida to Mississippi, north to Virginia and
Maryland, west to Iowa and north to Manitoba, Hudson Bay, and Labrador
[18]. Its range extends as far west as northeastern British Columbia
[21]. Populations are scattered throughout Georgia and southern South
Carolina but become more abundant from northern South Carolina to
Virginia and Maryland [18]. The break between the northern and southern
subspecies occurs in central New Jersey [16]. Sarracenia purpurea forma
heterophylla is found in one county in Michigan, in some eastern
Canadian bogs, and in Connecticut [21,22].
  • 16. Lloyd, F. E. 1942. The carnivorous plants. Waltham, MA: Chronica Botanica Company. 352 p. [12247]
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 21. Robinson, James T. 1981. sarracenia purpurea L. forma heterophylla (Eaton) Fernald: new to Connecticut. Rhodora. 83: 156-157. [16173]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Occurrence in North America

AL CT DE FL GA IL IN IA ME MD
MA MI MN MS NH NJ NY NC OH PA
RI SC VT VA WV WI AB BC MB NB
NF NS ON PE PQ SK

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: capsule, forb, rhizome

Purple pitcher-plant is a native, perennial, carnivorous forb. The evergreen
leaves are modified into pitchers and arranged in a rosette [23]. The
pitchers are curved and decumbent, measuring to 17.7 inches (45 cm) and
widening prominently toward the mouth. The hood on the pitcher is
positioned vertically, resulting in the pitcher usually being full or
partly full of rainwater [13]. Leaf color varies from bright
yellow-green to dark purple and is most commonly a middle variation with
strong red venation. Flower petals, sepals, and bracts are rose pink to
dark red [22]. Flowers are solitary, and terminate a scape arising from
the rhizome. At anthesis the scape is recurved near the apex. The
fruit is a capsule with laterally winged seeds [18].
  • 13. Jones, F. M. 1921. Pitcher plants and their moths. Natural History. 21: 296-316. [12301]
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]
  • 23. Slack, Adrian. 1979. Carnivorous plants. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 240 p. [12293]

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Northern Pitcher Plant is rare in Illinois and state-listed as endangered; it is found only in the NE section of the state. The typical habitat is a bog, including graminoid (grassy) bogs. Populations of this unusual plant have declined because of habitat destruction, over-collecting, and possibly nitrogen deposition from air pollution (particularly nitrous oxide).
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Comments: Purple pitcher plant grows in peat bogs, savannas, and wet meadows (Foster and Duke 1990).

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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: bog, peat

Purple pitcher-plant characteristically occurs in bogs, savannas, and
flatwoods. The very wettest parts of bogs are favored, often
restricting the species to the edges of bogs [18]. Purple pitcher-plant forms
dense, floating mats on the water at the edges of bog ponds and lakes
and across acid streams [9,12,22]. Along the Gulf Coast Sarracenia
species are often associated with Sphagnum, sundew (Drosera sp.),
butterwort (Pinguicula sp.), pipewort (Eriocaulon sp.), bladderwort
(Utricularia sp.), grass-pink (Calopogon sp.), burmannia (Burmannia
sp.), and other genera characteristic of acid sites [18].

Purple pitcher-plant is adapted to poor soils that are deficient in trace
elements such as molybdenum. These elements may be obtained from the
captured insects and amphibians [19]. Soils are usually highly acidic
and unsuitable for many other plants. Purple pitcher-plant, however, does not
require acidic soils for growth, and it occasionally occurs in alkaline
marl bogs around the Great Lakes [22,23]. Both ombrotrophic and
minerotrophic peat sites are occupied [3].
  • 3. Boelter, Don H.; Verry, Elon S. 1977. Peatland and water in the northern Lake States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-31. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agrciculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 22 p. [8168]
  • 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131]
  • 12. Joel, Daniel M. 1988. Mimicry and mutalism in carnivorous pitcher plants (Sarraceniaceae, Nepenthaceae, Cephalotaceae, Bromdiaceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 35(2): 185-197. [12303]
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 19. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1985. Croatan National Forest, North Carolina. Natural History. 94(6): 33-34. [9931]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]
  • 23. Slack, Adrian. 1979. Carnivorous plants. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 240 p. [12293]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: swamp

5 Balsam fir
12 Black spruce
13 Black spruce - tamarack
37 Northern white cedar
38 Tamarack
70 Longleaf pine
75 Shortleaf pine
79 Virginia pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
84 Slash pine
97 Atlantic white-cedar
98 Pond pine
101 Baldcypress
103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo
104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: bog

K079 Palmetto prairie
K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
K094 Conifer bog
K095 Great Lakes pine forest
K111 Oak - hickory pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest
K113 Southern floodplain forest
K114 Pocosin

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES11 Spruce - fir
FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES41 Wet grasslands

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are pollinated by bumblebees seeking their nectar and pollen. They are also pollinated by Fletcherimyia fletcheri (Pitcher Plant Fly); this unusual fly seeks shelter in the flowers, becoming covered with pollen in the process. Because it frequently flies from one flower to another, cross-pollination occurs. The larvae of this fly live in the fluid of the tubular leaves, where they feed on other small insects that have become trapped; they are the top-level carnivores of this miniature ecosystem. Other insect larvae that develop in the fluid of the leaves include Metriocnemus knabi (Pitcher Plant Midge) and Wyeomyia smithii (Pitcher Plant Mosquito). The caterpillars of several moths feed on the Northern Pitcher Plant. These species include
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Northern Pitcher Plant in Illinois

Sarracenia purpurea (Northern Pitcher Plant)
(bees suck nectar or collect pollen; adults of the Pitcher Plant fly, Fletcherimyia fletcheri, find shelter in the flowers and become covered with pollen; all of these insects are effective at cross-pollination as they fly from flower-to-flower; observations are from Thien & Marcks and Ne'eman et al.)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus spp. sn (TM), Bombus affinis cp (NNE)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata sn cp (NNE)

Flies
Sarcophagidae: Fletcherimyia fletcheri shl (NNE)

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General Ecology

Periodic, moderate fires are necessary for long-term viability (Folkerts 1977). Reproduction is primarily by seed; pollination by bees during peak flowering is essentially monotropic. Natural hybridization in common and may be facilitated by soil disturbance (Folkerts 1982).

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: bog, fire suppression, litter, natural

Moth larvae infestations may be controlled by burning the previous
year's purple pitcher-plant litter. Highly infested stands are frequently
those protected from fire [22]. Fire suppression also leads to less
frequent, severe fires which damage species normally considered to be
fire tolerant. Fire is a natural event in carnivorous plant habitats,
and this must be considered when managing these areas [8].

The season that fire occurs in may influence the floristic composition
of purple pitcher-plant bogs. Historically, summer fires were frequent,
probably occurring as a result of lightning. At present, most fires are
caused by man and occur during the winter. Data on the effects of this
shift are lacking; however, winter fires would seem less effective in
opening space for seed germination of bog species [9].
  • 8. Folkerts, George W. 1977. Endangered and threatened carnivorous plants of North America. In: Prance, G. T.; Elias, T. S. ed, eds. Extinction is forever. Threatened and endangered species of plants in the Americas and their significance today and in t; 1976 May 11-13; New York. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Plant Response to Fire

Purple pitcher-plant resprouts from underground rhizomes following fire. It is
well adapted to moderate fire in the South [18,22].
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: peat

Purple pitcher-plant is usually top-killed by fire. Severe fires may burn into
the peat layer and destroy the rhizomes, thereby killing the plant
[18,22].
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil

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Fire Ecology

Fire is beneficial to purple pitcher-plant in many ways. Periodic, moderate
fires are necessary to reduce the encroachment of competing plants and
stimulate growth by releasing nutrients bound up in organic matter [8].

Purple pitcher-plant survives fire by resprouting from underground rhizomes.
  • 8. Folkerts, George W. 1977. Endangered and threatened carnivorous plants of North America. In: Prance, G. T.; Elias, T. S. ed, eds. Extinction is forever. Threatened and endangered species of plants in the Americas and their significance today and in t; 1976 May 11-13; New York. [Place of publication unknown]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: succession

Facultative Seral Species

Plant succession on purple pitcher-plant bogs is toward a sedge-woody species
dominated community. Fire, however, retards this succession and
purple pitcher-plant bogs are thought to be fire disclimaxes [6].
Purple pitcher-plant is successional to sphagnum in the bogs of Isle Royale,
Michigan [4].
  • 4. Cooper, William S. 1913. The climax forest of Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its development. III. Botanical Gazette. 55(3): 189-235. [11539]
  • 6. Eleuterius, L. N.; Jones, S. B., Jr. 1969. A floristic and ecological study of pitcher plant bogs in south Mississippi. Rhodora. 71: 29-34. [12333]

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Regeneration Processes

Reproduction is typically by seeds but may also occur by fragmentation
of the rhizomes [9,18]. Bees are the main pollinators. Though normally
polytropic, during the peak of Sarracenia flowering, the bees are
effectively monotropic, visiting only Sarracenia species, at least where
there are large stands of flowers [9]. Bare ground is vital for
seedling establishment [12].
  • 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131]
  • 12. Joel, Daniel M. 1988. Mimicry and mutalism in carnivorous pitcher plants (Sarraceniaceae, Nepenthaceae, Cephalotaceae, Bromdiaceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 35(2): 185-197. [12303]
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Purple pitcher-plant begins flowering along the Gulf Coast in early to
mid-March. Farther north, blooming occurs from late July to early
August [18]. The leaves, or pitchers, are produced each year from stems
arising from the rhizomes and remain evergreen unless unduly exposed
[22]. Individual rhizomes may live for 20 to 30 years [18].
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sarracenia purpurea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Sarracenia purpurea is common throughout most of Canada and parts of the northeastern U.S., but significantly rare in most of its southeastern U.S. range. S. purpurea is included on Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) which mandates regulations on international trade in this species. Declining trends in populations in the southeastern U.S. have prompted several states to pass legislation to protect native populations. This species is widely traded, both in the international and domestic floral, medicinal, and ornamental markets. A majority of international trade is conducted with artificially propagated plants, however poaching and wild-harvesting of this species continues in the U.S. Sarracenia purpurea require bog habitats and periodic fires to maintain viable populations; therefore this species is threatened by fire suppression and damage to this sensitive habitat type. There is a divergence between conservation status in the southeastern U.S. in comparison with the northeastern U.S. and Canada, wherein populations in the former region are declining rapidly but populations in the northern portion of the range are apparently secure.

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Sarracenia purpurea is listed as endangered in Georgia and Illinois; S. p.
forma heterophylla is listed as threatened in Michigan [11,24].
  • 11. Hardin, E. Dennis; White, Deborah L. 1989. Rare vascular plant taxa associated with wiregrass (Aristida stricta) in the southeastern United States. Natural Areas Journal. 9(4): 234-245. [12034]
  • 24. Taft, John B.; Solecki, Mary Kay. 1990. Vascular flora of the wetland and prairie communities of Gavin Bog and Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake County, Illinois. Rhodora. 92(871): 142-165. [14522]

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Threats

Comments: Sarracenia purpurea is a popular plant, both for the ornamental and medicinal industries. Recent trends in demand suggest that economic uses could be detrimental for wild populations if sufficient artificially propagated material is not available. For example, as of 1997, Sarracenia purpurea is commercially available in the German medicinal market (Lyke, in litt., 2001). Studies have shown increased interest in collecting S. purpurea plants for anti-cancer and insecticidal properties (Groves 1993). In 1995, documentation to issue export permits of 59,000 pitcher plants was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Robbins 1998). A majority of S. purpurea in commerce is cultivated; however wild populations and local, small-scale collecting should be monitored regularly to prevent exploitation of local populations. For example, although many plants exported from the U.S. are artificially propagated, much of the former supply of exported cut pitchers from wild populations now supplies the domestic floral industry. Approximately 1.6 million pitchers were cut for the domestic market in 1991 and 145,500 cut pitchers were exported from various Sarracenia species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1991). Poaching remains a significant threat to the conservation of wild-populations of Sarracenia species and law enforcement efforts (Lyke, in litt., 2001). Furthermore, since it has been most cost effective for grows to augment existing bogs, rather than propagate plants in greenhouses, there are potential threats to the genetic integrity of native populations and the definition of "artificially propagated" may become distorted (Groves 1993). Strict documentation of such "mixed sites" might alleviate these threats.

In addition to potential collection pressures on wild plants, significant declines in bog habitat threaten the viability of native populations. Formerly abundant pitcher plant bogs on the Lower Gulf Coastal Plain have diminished by approximately 97% since European settlement (Folkerts 1982). Ditching and draining bogs for development purposes have been considered the largest threat to bog habitat. Fire suppression, grazing, silvicultural practices, and chemical residues are also significant threats (Groves 1993). As noted, collection of wild plants is a formidable threat, however it may be that resulting soil disturbance and vehicular traffic by collectors does at least as much, if not more damage than merely cutting pitchers off of plants (Robbins 1998). Active management of bog sites is necessary in some cases to maintain bogs. Restoration efforts, including prescribed burning and invasive weed management, have been shown to increase bog habitat (Groves 2000).

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Management

Management considerations

The larvae of several moth species feed on or burrow in purple pitcher-plant,
sometimes infesting large areas and severely damaging the population
[26].

Collection of wild purple pitcher-plants for sale has resulted in localized
extinction in some areas. A number of dealers currently specialize in
cultivating carnivorous plants, but collecting is still a problem, since
it is less costly [8].
  • 26. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 8. Folkerts, George W. 1977. Endangered and threatened carnivorous plants of North America. In: Prance, G. T.; Elias, T. S. ed, eds. Extinction is forever. Threatened and endangered species of plants in the Americas and their significance today and in t; 1976 May 11-13; New York. [Place of publication unknown]

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These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, wet conditions, and an acidic soil consisting of sphagnum moss or a combination of peat and sand. If this plant is cultivated in an outdoor garden, it is usually advisable to use a flower pot or pan that lacks a drainage hole; this can be inserted into the ground. Seed germination requires a period of winter dormancy, followed by a period of warm moist conditions. This plant is sometimes cultivated in terrariums. The use of fertilizer should be avoided.
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Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG, LANDSCAPING, Cultivated ornamental, ESTHETIC

Production Methods: Cultivated, Wild-harvested

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: bog

Runoff from road-salt storage piles into an adjacent bog killed several
native bog species, which allowed the invasion of cattails (Typha
latifolia) and weedy annuals. Several bog species, including
purple pitcher-plant, were successfully transplanted to damaged areas using
"living mats" from unimpacted areas of the bog. Component species of
the mats included Sphagnum mosses, small cranberry (Vaccinium
oxycoccos), purple pitcher-plant, narrow-leaf sundew (Drosera intermedia), and
leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata augustifolia) [27].
  • 27. Wilcox, Douglas A.; Ray, Gary. 1989. Using "living mat" transplants to restore a salt-impacted bog (Indiana). Restoration and Management Notes. 7(1): 39. [8063]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: bog

Purple pitcher-plants, although carnivorous, are also beneficial to several
insect species. Ants, wasps, bees, butterflies, and moths are attracted
to purple pitcher-plant by its nectar. Beetles and spiders visit the plants to
prey on other insects. Spiders may spin a web inside the pitcher to
catch insects which fall inside [16]. Some flies live in the pitchers,
feeding on decomposing insects [9]. The larvae of a small, nonbiting
mosquito live only in the liquid held by purple pitcher-plant. Unlike most
insects, these larvae are neither killed nor digested in the pitcher
fluid [9,26].

Purple pitcher-plant obtains prey species that are quite different from that of
other Sarracenia species. A large number of grasshoppers, crickets, and
snails are captured. Microhabitat segregation exists among
Sarracenica species in the same bog and may influence the types of prey
obtained [9].
  • 26. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131]
  • 16. Lloyd, F. E. 1942. The carnivorous plants. Waltham, MA: Chronica Botanica Company. 352 p. [12247]

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Other uses and values

The unique beauty and unusual mode of life of purple pitcher-plants make them
desirable as houseplants [8].
  • 8. Folkerts, George W. 1977. Endangered and threatened carnivorous plants of North America. In: Prance, G. T.; Elias, T. S. ed, eds. Extinction is forever. Threatened and endangered species of plants in the Americas and their significance today and in t; 1976 May 11-13; New York. [Place of publication unknown]

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Wikipedia

Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia purpurea, commonly known as the purple pitcher plant, northern pitcher plant, or side-saddle flower, is a carnivorous plant in the family Sarraceniaceae. Its range includes almost the entire eastern seaboard of the United States, the Great Lakes, and south eastern Canada, making it the most common and broadly distributed pitcher plant, as well as the only member of the genus that inhabits cold temperate climates. The species is the floral emblem of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The species was introduced into bogs in parts of Ireland, where it has proliferated.[1]

Description[edit]

Like other species of Sarracenia, S. purpurea obtains most of its nutrients through prey capture.[2] However, prey acquisition is said to be inefficient, with less than 1% of the visiting prey captured within the pitcher.[3] Even so, anecdotal evidence by growers often shows that pitchers quickly fill up with prey during the warm summer months. Prey fall into the pitcher and drown in the rainwater that collects in the base of each leaf. Prey items such as flies, ants, spiders, and even moths, are then digested by an invertebrate community, made up mostly by the mosquito Wyeomyia smithii and the midge Metriocnemus knabi. The relationship between W. smithii and S. purpurea is an example of commensalism.[4]

Protists, rotifers (including Habrotrocha rosa), and bacteria form the base of inquiline food web that shreds and mineralizes available prey, making nutrients available to the plant.[5][6][7] New pitcher leaves do produce digestive enzymes such as hydrolases and proteases, but as the individual leaves get older into their second year, digestion of prey material is aided by the community of bacteria that live within the pitchers.[8][9]

Taxonomy[edit]

The species is further divided into two subspecies, S. purpurea subsp. purpurea and S. purpurea subsp. venosa. The former is found from New Jersey north, while the latter is found from New Jersey south and tolerates warmer temperatures.

In 1999, Sarracenia purpurea subsp. venosa var. burkii was described as a species of its own: Sarracenia rosea. This re-ranking has been debated among carnivorous plant enthusiasts since then, but further morphological evidence has supported the split.[10] The following species and infraspecific taxa are usually recognized:

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Foss, P.J. & O'Connell, C.A. (1985). "Notes on the ecology of Sarracenia purpurea L. on Irish peatlands". The Irish Naturalists' Journal 21 (10): 440–443. JSTOR 25538921.  edit
  2. ^ Wakefield AE, Gotelli NJ, Wittman SE, Ellison AM (2005). "Prey addition alters nutrient stoichiometry of the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea". Ecology (abstract) 86 (7): 1737–1743. doi:10.1890/04-1673. 
  3. ^ Newell SJ, Nastase AJ (1998). "Efficiency of nutrient capture by Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae), the Northern Pitcher Plant". American Journal of Botany 85 (1): 88–91. doi:10.2307/2446558. JSTOR 2446558. 
  4. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2011. Commensalism. Topic Ed. M.Mcginley. Ed-in-chief C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
  5. ^ Heard SB (1994). "Pitcher plant midges and mosquitoes: a processing chain commensalism". Ecology (abstract) 75 (6): 1647–1660. doi:10.2307/1939625. JSTOR 1939625. 
  6. ^ Mouquet N., Daufresne T., Gray S. M., Miller T. E. (2008). "Modelling the relationship between a pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) and its phytotelma community: mutualism or parasitism?". Functional Ecology 22 (4): 728–737. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01421.x. 
  7. ^ Peterson C. N., Day S., Wolfe B. E., Ellison A. M., Kolter R., Pringle A. (2008). "A keystone predator controls bacterial diversity in the pitcher-plant (Sarracenia purpurea) microecosystem". Environmental Microbiology 10 (9): 2257–2266. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01648.x. PMID 18479443. 
  8. ^ Rice, Barry. (2007). About Sarracenia purpurea, the purple pitcher plant. The Carnivorous Plant FAQ. Accessed online: 21 June 2008.
  9. ^ Gallie D. R., Chang S.-C. (1997). "Signal transduction in the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea. Regulation of secretory hydrolase expression during development and in response to resources". Plant Physiology 115 (4): 1461–1471. doi:10.1104/pp.115.4.1461. PMC 158611. PMID 9414556. 
  10. ^ Ellison A. M., Buckley H. L., Miller T. E., Gotelli N. J. (2004). "Morphological variation in Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae): geographic, environmental, and taxonomic correlates" (PDF). American Journal of Botany 91 (11): 1930–1935. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.11.1930. PMID 21652339. 
  11. ^ Hanrahan B., Miller J. (1998). "History of Discovery: Yellow Flowered Sarracenia purpurea L. subsp. venosa (Raf.) Wherry var. burkii". Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 27 (1): 14–17. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the terms: fern, natural

The currently accepted scientific name for purple pitcher-plant is Sarracenia
purpurea L. Recognized subspecies and forms are [22]:

S. purpurea ssp. purpurea Wherry - northern plants
S. p. ssp. p. forma heterophylla (Eaton) Fern. - yellow flowers
S. p. ssp. venosa Raf. - southern plants

Natural hybrids normally occur in disturbed areas, indicating hybrid
viability may be positively correlated with soil disturbance. The five
naturally occurring hybrids are [9,18]:

S. purpurea X S. alata = S. exornata
S. purpurea X S. flava = S. catesbaei
S. purpurea X S. leucophylla = S. mitchelliana
S. purpurea X S. minor = S. swaniana
S. purpurea X S. rubra = S. chelsonii
  • 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131]
  • 18. McDaniel, Sidney. 1971. The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 1-36. [15245]
  • 22. Schnell, Donald E. 1976. Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair. 125 p. [12292]

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Common Names

purple pitcher-plant
flytrap
sidesaddle plant
Huntsman's cup
frog's britches

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