Monday, August 7, 2017

Meat-Eater Monday: American Pitcher Plants

American pitchers plants are my favorite carnivorous plants because of their size and variety of shapes and colors.

Although there are only 8 to 11 species of American pitcher plants, those species have been hybridized and the hybrids crossed with other hybrids to create unique hybrids and cultivators in every color possible.

Below I will share pictures and characteristics of the species I own. (I do not have all of them)

The Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia Minor): Sarracenia is the scientific name for American pitcher plants. The typical variety grows up to 10 inches tall, but the Okefenokee Giant plants can grow to 4 foot.  This plant has a lid or "hood" that over hangs the mouth of the pitcher plant. The back of the plant has white spots which are actually transparent to allow light into its mouth, encouraging bugs to tumble into their doom. This is one of my favorite species because of the evil smirk it gives from the correct angle.
 The Green Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia Oreophila): This species is rare and endangered in the wild, which is a pity because it is one of my favorite plants in my collection. It grows quickly and produces huge green pitchers. I love crossing it with "weaker" plants because it adds substance and vigor to any of its hybrids. 

The White Trumpet (Sarracenia Leucophylla): In case you haven't noticed I have favorite plants for everything. I like the white pitcher plant for producing beautiful hybrids. Unfortunately, the only white pitcher plant I have is of the Tarnok variety, and it produces a mutant flower which is sterile and cannot be crossed with anything. The white trumpet is arguably the most stunning and attractive carnivorous plant. However, beauty comes with a price. Sometimes the beautiful leaves of this plant are used in floral arrangements. As exotic and enchanting as that is, it is a terrible practice because many times the leaves are harvested off wild plants which is endangering these beautiful plants.  

Tarnok's mutant flower
The Purple Pitcher plant (Sarracenia Purpurea): My purple pitcher plant was my very first American pitcher plant. It is also the most widely spread pitcher plant.  Different varieties of it grow from the southeast coast all the way up through Ohio into Canada. The purple pitcher plant grows no more than 6 inches off the ground and incredibly slow growing. When I started growing carnivorous plants it was my least favorite plant, however, in the past few years it has exploded, and now I'm quite proud to have it in my collection. In the spring the plant is green with dark red veins on it, but when winter comes, it turns a deep red -- almost purple.  

This is a picture of it in early spring a few years ago, since then it has done even better.

The Yellow Trumpet (Sarracenia Flava): As it seems to be with my other plants, my Yellow trumpet is a special variety which has more veining and color than the typical plant which is why I love it. It is always the first plant to flower in the spring and, boy, does it have large flowers. This plant is my sturdiest and strongest plant, and it has character, height, and strength to any hybrid it produces.

 Green White Trumpet: I'm not sure whether this plant is a green variety of the white trumpet or if it actually some kind of hybrid. Either way, the older this plant gets, the more I love it. Its leaves are simple, elegant and beautiful. It stands apart from the crowd in my collection.


Appalation Spring (S. Oreophila x S. Rubra): As the hybrid of two of the most vigorous growing carnivorous plants, this hybrid produces leaves and flowers faster than I can keep up with it. It is a strong, sturdy grower in the spring, but when the summer storms hit, the pitchers flop over and are rather annoying to care for. This is a very pleasant hybrid with light veining, peach colored undulating hoods, and pink flowers.

Judith Hindle: I have an intense love for my hybrids. It is difficult to choose favorites, but if I could, my Judith Hindle is definitely one of my top picks. As my oldest and most trustworthy hybrid, there is a good reason this hybrid is so popular to carnivorous plant growers -- it is stunning. The Judith Hindle is a complex cross including the purple pitcher plant, the white trumpet, and others. When a new pitcher opens, it is green with red veining and highlights. In a few weeks of strong sunlight, it turns a deep reddish purple. At 10-12 inches this is one of my smallest plants, but I was overjoyed when it finally produced flowers this spring. I've been waiting for 5+ years for this plant to produce a flower.
Moorei (S. Flava x S. Leucophylla): This relatively new addition to my collection quickly won a special place in my heart. This handsome plant has white lacing and a slightly ruffled lid. It is so pretty and strong -- if a little slow growing. I can't wait to cross it with other plants it will produce some beautiful hybrids.

Diana's Delight: The crowning glory of my collection is my Daina's Delight. In the spring it looks like an ugly little green and red plant, but in late summer it starts to blossom into the most stunning hybrid I've ever laid eyes on. The white lacing on this plant inherited from the white trumpet is tinted a pretty pink. My only complaint with this plant is that it seems to be sensitive to the cold since I've lost several of this hybrid to bitter, cold winters.

These are not all the different species and hybrids. They are not even all the plants in my collection, but I hope this has given you a brief breakdown on the wonderful possibilities of American pitcher plants.

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