Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pitcher Plant

Today, Fer at my little garden in japan is hosting a carnival of favorite plants where garden bloggers are asked to showcase their favorite plant. What a dilemma. This is like asking me to pick a favorite child....IMPOSSIBLE! So I have decided to profile a plant which I have been fascinated with this past year....the pitcher plant (Sarracenia).


It is a spectacular plant. The pitchers are actually modified leaves with sealed bottoms. Insects are attracted to the pitchers because they mimic flowers. Notice that the color is more intense at the mouth of the plant.



Flies, bees, moths and other insects are lured inside then slip to the bottom of the trap where they drown and dissolve in the plant's digestive juices.

mosquito crawling up plant

Fun Fact: Some pitcher plants are home to small caterpillars that use the inside of the plant to pupate and metamorphose into an adult moth. 

In the spring the pitcher plant produces beautiful flowers which are harmless to insects and in fact contain pollen and nectar just like conventional blooms.

Pitcher Plant Bloom

In the Southeast United States the pitcher plant is threatened by habitat destruction. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is the national collection holder for the genus Sarracenia as appointed by the North American Plant Collections Consortium. They showcase species found in natural bog habitats in the wild.

Sarracenia in natural bog habitat (ABG)

If you live in the area or are visiting Atlanta I highly recommend taking a tour of the gardens. The pitcher plants are best viewed April through October as they go dormant during the winter months. I am in the planning stage of installing a bog garden in my backyard and will certainly blog about it as it becomes a reality. Until then I am sharing photographs of pitcher plants that I have taken on Garden Tours and visits to various Botanical Gardens.

16 comments:

  1. What a beautiful and exotic looking flower. Mother nature is amazingly creative!

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  2. These are great photos! There's a couple native stands of pitcher plants near me that I visit sometimes. I've stopped telling anyone where they are because it is at such high risk for being poached. I've heard of that happening multiple times now, very sad.

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  3. Great pictures of a fascinating plant. I remember seeing these in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia (where I lived when I was a small kid), so your blogpost stirred up a few happy memories for me!

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  4. They are beautiful plants. Endlessly fascinating to watch when there are insects around.

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  5. Beautiful!
    I didn't know they came in white too
    I look forward to see more of your bog garden, please keep us posted.

    Thank you very much for joining the carnival! you posted an amazing plant.

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  6. That is a very pretty and unique plant! I can see why you like it so much. That is fun that you are making a bog garden. Looking forward to seeing it in the future. I have one area that is a bog because of drainage issues...i planted a swamp rose and it is pretty, but taking over the area. Have a good day!

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  7. I am familiar with a bog garden in Vermont and the colors are wonderful... I was also amazed that these plants did so well in zone 3... good luck with your garden project and I too would enjoy hearing of follow-ups on your bog garden to be! L

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  8. I had no idea pitcher plants bloomed, and they're so lovely too!

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  9. I'm on the other side of the country from you, but I'm equally fascinated (obsessed?) with sarracenia! The first photo is extra gorgeous--that little band of red at the back of the pitcher's throat is a terrific detail.

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  10. beautiful and frightening all at the same time...great photos!

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  11. Wow - amazingly beautiful flower ! Great photos of it/them !

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  12. Ah, a garden I must see one day.
    Wonderful photos of pitcher plants!! Hope that mosquito is captured;~D
    Alice
    aka Alice's Garden Travel Buzz
    p.s. Chilly here ... winter has arrived early.

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  13. I love carnivorous plants. It is such a clever adaptation that allows them to thrive where other plants couldn't. Great photos.

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  14. What great photos of such an interesting plant -- that fun fact about the caterpillars was definitely new to me! I kept wanting that mosquito to crawl on inside...

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  15. These are very captivating plants ~ I can see why you were fascinated with them this year. I remember seeing them on walks (as a child) and trying to find insects to drop inside.
    I would also love to try a bog garden. I hope yours becomes a reality soon so I can check in on it. You have a terrific blog!

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