Description Of The Species

S. alabamensis Case & Case. Erect leaves with narrow wings which are trumpet-shaped and reach lengths of 20 in. (51 cm). The orifice is covered with an ovate suberect hood which has wavy margins. Two types of leaves and occasional phyllodia are produced. Early spring leaves tend to be curved with summer leaves tending to be straighter and usually larger with a more pronounced taper. The pitcher is green with maroon venation and in strong light has a reddish hue. Faint fenestrations or areoles are present.

Scapes tend to be a few inches (cm) taller than the pitchers and bear reddish-colored flowers. Plants flower in April and May.

S. alata (Wood). Leaves are erect, trumpet-shaped usually with a narrow wing, and measure up to 35 in. (89 cm) in length with a suberect ovate hood with a flat or slightly revolute edges. Leaves usually appear at flowering or shortly thereafter. Pitcher color varies from greenish to pale yellow and in strong light there is red to purple veining with diffuse red coloration on the upper part of the pitcher. Few, if any, sword-shaped ensiform phyllodia are produced. When present they are usually less than 2/s the length of the summer leaves. Flowers vary from yellow to whitish yellow color and have a

musty odor. Scapes may reach heights of 30 in. (76 cm). Plant blooms about mid-March.

  1. flava L. Summer leaves are erect, trumpet-shaped with a wide flaring orifice subtended by a rounded hood which is almost flat with revolute edges and has a prominent keel. The leaves can reach lengths of 39 in. (99 cm) and those produced after flowering have a narrow wing. Numerous sword-shaped ensiform phyllodia which are usually 20 in. (51 cm) or less in length are produced during late summer and winter. Leaf color is quite variable ranging from light green to yellow with red splotches and in some plants the whole pitcher is a solid red or maroon color. Often there is red or maroon venation in the leaves. Flowers are bright yellow color and have a pronounced musty odor. Usually it is the first Sarracenia to bloom in a given location. Blooming starts in mid-March at the southern limit of its range to mid-May in North Carolina. Scape is shorter than the summer leaves.
  2. leucophylla Raf. Leaves appear at the same time as flowers and measure 37 in. (94 cm) with a narrow wing. They are trumpet-shaped with an erect to suberect ovate hood with wavy margins. This plant is distinguished from other Sarracenia by extensive white coloration of the upper part of the pitcher. The distinctive leaves are mistaken for the bloom. There is red or green veining in the white area with a red or maroon suffusion. In late summer and fall a few ensiform phyllodia or ascidiform leaves with greatly reduced pitchers are formed. Scapes are usually shorter than the leaves and red to maroon-colored flowers are produced which have a sweetish odor. Flowering takes place from March to April. The upper Vi-2/* of the leaves of var. alba are almost solid white with red venation.
  3. minor Walt. Leaves are up to 28 in. (71 cm) long, gradually expand from base to orifice, are erect and have a wing which is widest in the middle. An ovate hood arches closely over the orifice. The leaves appear before flowering. Pitcher color is mainly green with a coppery red and/or yellow coloration in strong light. There are numerous fenestrations on the upper part of the pitcher. No phyllodia are produced. Flowers which are yellow color and odorless are borne on scapes which are shorter than the leaves. Flowering occurs from mid-March to mid-May.
  4. oreophila (Kearney) Wherry. Summer leaves appear before or at flowering, usually have no wing and measure 30 in. (76 cm) in length. The trumpet-shaped leaves have a suberect rounded hood whose base is strongly constricted, colored green to yellow-green with a diffused red or maroon coloration in strong light. Ensiform, falcate phyllodia are usually less than 20 in. (51 cm) long. The numerous scythe-shaped phyllodia are characteristic of this species and distinguish it from S. flava and S. alata, the two species often confused with S. oreophila. These leaves are produced during late summer and fall. The flower scape is as long as the summer leaves. Flowers are greenish yellow to yellow color and bloom from mid-April to early June. The lack of odor and the lighter color of the flower helps to distinguish it from S. flava.
  5. purpurea ssp. purpurea Wherry. Pitchers which may reach lengths of 18 in. (46 cm) are curved, decumbent to ascending with considerable expansion at the orifice which is not covered because the hood is erect. The hood has prominent lateral wings and the edges are wavy. Pitchers are green in shaded habitats, otherwise they have varying degrees of red or maroon variegation. In full sunlight the plants are often a solid red or maroon color. Flowers which are borne on scapes that may reach lengths of 28 in. (71 cm) vary in color from yellowish green to shades of maroon to light pink. Flowering is from March to May.
  6. purpurea ssp. venosa Raf. This plant is similar to Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea except that its pitchers are shorter and wider and their exterior surfaces tend to be pubescent. This subspecies occurs in the southern portion of its range whereas S. purpurea ssp. purpurea exists in the northern part. The distinction between these subspecies is not clear where their ranges merge in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Carolina regions.
  7. purpurea ssp. purpurea f. heterophylla Eaton. Plants are the same as S. purpurea ssp. purpurea except they have no red or maroon coloration in the pitchers or flowers. (Photo 3-4)
  8. psittacina Michx. Evergreen leaves 2-12 in. (5-30 cm) long are usually decumbent forming a basal rosette. The wing is 0.4-1.6 in. (1-4 cm) wide, being widest near the fenestrated globose hood. The orifice or opening is small, round and has a collar. Leaves are green with varying degrees of red to purple coloration the extent of which is determined by light intensity. Flowers appear from March to May. Flower color ranges from red to maroon with lighter areas often appearing on the ends or throughout the petals. Scapes vary from 4-14 in. (10-36 cm) in length. (Photo 3-5)
  9. rubra ssp. rubra. Pitchers are erect, have a narrow wing and are dull green with a profuse reddish to purple veining near the upper part of the pitcher. This is the smallest of the erect Pitcher Plants with the narrowest pitchers having a rather uniform expansion of the pitcher. Sometimes there is a difference between the early leaves of the season, often called spring leaves which are curved, whereas the later or summer leaves tend to be straight. An ovate, suberect hood arches over the orifice of the pitchers which may measure up to 11 in. (28 cm). Scapes are taller than leaves reaching lengths of 22 in. (56 cm). Flowers are sweet-scented and of various shades of maroon. It has been reported that a yellow flowered variety has been discovered. Flowering takes place from mid-April to June.
  10. rubra ssp.jonesii. The pitchers are longer, 28 in. (71 cm), than those of S. rubra ssp. rubra with a more pronounced expansion of the pitcher near the orifice. The hood is higher over the orifice and the hood is wider than in any of the ssp. of S. rubra. The veining is much more prominent and there are faint areoles on the pitchers.
  11. rubra ssp. wherryi. Very closely resembles S. alabamensis. Its hood is shorter than that of S. alabamensis and almost as long as wide. The pitchers have faint areoles and more venation in the area of the orifice and column and are 18 in. (46 cm) long. The pitchers are dark green whereas in S. alabamensis they are yellow-green.
  12. rubra ssp.gulfensis. This subspecies has the longest pitchers, 26 in. (66 cm), which proportionally do not expand as much as the pitchers of other ssp. The external veining is darker and more prominent, whereas the internal area of the orifice and column is less developed.

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