13 Strange and Beautiful Pitcher Plants
These otherworldly, carnivorous beauties are also fascinating and fun to grow.
Yellow Trumpet Pitcher Plant
S. flava, the yellow trumpet pitcher plant, can grow to three feet tall, with pitchers big enough to trap flies, wasps and yellow jackets. The Latin word "flava" means yellow, and the plants are yellow-green with red blotches. Their large flowers have dangling petals and an unpleasant odor.
White Trumpet Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia leucophylla is a beautiful carnivorous plant with red flowers and white-topped "pitchers," or modified leaves that act as a trap for insects. The white trumpet plant bears pitchers in spring and again in fall.
Purple Pitcher Plant
Most pitcher plants are relatively easy to grow. S. purpurea ssp venosa, or the purple pitcher plant, has an erect hood with ear-like "wings" on each side. Stiff hairs on the hood direct prey into the pitcher.
Sarracenia minor var. okefenokeensis
Commonly called the hooded pitcher plant, S. minor var. okefenokeensis has a distinctive, hood-like lid with white spots. The flowers may be yellow, green, or slightly red. These plants are found in the Carolinas, Florida, and Georgia, especially in Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp.
S. flava var. rubricorpora
This rare yellow pitcher plant, S. flava var. rubricorpora, has tall, red tubes topped by yellow or green lids with veins. Each year, it bears only one large pitcher from each rosette.
Pitcher Plant 'Judith Hindle'
A popular cultivar, Sarracenia x 'Judith Hindle' was bred in England. The pitchers start out green with blotches of white and yellow and mature to deep red. These are compact plants with distinctive, wavy lids and maroon flowers that appear in spring.
Pitcher Plant 'Carolina Yellow Jacket'
Named for its chartreuse-yellow pitchers, Sarracenia 'Carolina Yellow Jacket' is a hybrid that grows to 8 inches tall. It can produce up to 50 pitchers per 4-inch pot.
Pitcher Plant 'Daina's Delight'
Named by its New Zealand developer for his daughter, 'Daina's Delight' grows to 24 inches tall. Pitcher plants are well-adapted to nutrient-poor, wet soils that contain lots of peat and sand.
Pitcher Plant 'Tarnok'
S. leucophylla 'Tarnok' was selected from a white-topped pitcher plant found growing in Alabama. The unusual flowers are doubled, while the pitchers are white with red veins.
Parrot Pitcher Plant
S. psittacina gets its name from its parrot-shaped head. Instead of using a pitfall trap, where insects are lured to fall into an opening, these plants use a "lobster pot" trap. Bugs crawl into the tunnels and wind up in a large, globe-shaped chamber they can't escape.
Pitcher Plants at Splinter Hill
Splinter Hill Bog Preserve, in south Alabama, is home to one of the world's biggest and most beautiful pitcher plant bogs. You'll get your feet wet if you visit; plan to wear long sleeves, long pants and insect repellant to protect against pests.
Mountain Pitcher Plant
Highly endangered S. jonesii, the mountain pitcher plant, is found in only a handful of wild sites in North and South Carolina. These native plants are threatened by developments that divert water from the bogs in which they grow.
Pale Pitcher Plant, S. alata var. alata
S. alata var. alata, the pale pitcher plant, has few, if any veins. There are 8 species of pitcher plants (Sarracenia): purpurea (purple pitcher); alata (pale pitcher); rubra (sweet trumpet plant); leucophylla (white trumpet plant); oreophila (mountain trumpet plant); psittacnia (parrot pitcher); minor (hooded pitcher); and flava (yellow trumpet plant).