Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Sarracenia purpurea


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walkup, Crystal. Sarracenia purpurea. 1991. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : SARPUR SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : SAPU4 COMMON NAMES : purple pitcher-plant flytrap sidesaddle plant Huntsman's cup frog's britches TAXONOMY : 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 LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : Sarracenia purpurea is listed as endangered in Georgia and Illinois; S. p. forma heterophylla is listed as threatened in Michigan [11,24].


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : 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]. ECOSYSTEMS : 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 STATES : 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 BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : 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 SAF COVER TYPES : 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 SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : 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]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : 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]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : The unique beauty and unusual mode of life of purple pitcher-plants make them desirable as houseplants [8]. OTHER 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].


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : 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]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte 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]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : 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]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : 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]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : 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].


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : 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. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : 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]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY 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]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : 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].


SPECIES: Sarracenia purpurea
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Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]: Westview Press: 41-51. [15874] 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] 7. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 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]. [Publisher unknown]. 301-313. [12388] 9. Folkerts, George W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267. [10131] 10. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 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] 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] 13. Jones, F. M. 1921. Pitcher plants and their moths. Natural History. 21: 296-316. [12301] 14. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 15. Laderman, Aimlee D.; Golet, Francis C.; Sorrie, Bruce A.; Woolsey, Henry L. 1987. Atlantic white cedar in the glaciated Northeast. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]: Westview Press: 19-34. [15872] 16. Lloyd, F. E. 1942. The carnivorous plants. Waltham, MA: Chronica Botanica Company. 352 p. [12247] 17. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496] 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] 20. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 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] 23. Slack, Adrian. 1979. Carnivorous plants. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 240 p. [12293] 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] 25. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 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] 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] 28. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090]