northern purple pitcherplant

(Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

northern purple pitcherplant

 

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

Nativity

Native

     
Occurrence

 

     
Habitat

Wet. Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, and peatlands. Full sun. Acidic soil with sphagnum moss or peat and sand.

Flowering

March to August

 
Flower Color

Reddish-purple

 
Height

8 to 31 (22 to 79 cm)

 
 
Identification

Northern purple pitcherplant is an easily recognized, long-lived, carnivorous plant. There are no other plants in Minnesota that even vaguely resemble it. It occurs in the United States from Maine to New Jersey west to Minnesota, in Washington State, and throughout southern Canada. It is found in bogs, fens, swamps and peatlands. It grows under full sun in sphagnum moss or in soil that has both peat and sand. It obtains most of its nutrients from captured insects. The soil it grows in is nutrient-poor and usually acidic, and cannot support many other plants. Individual plants can live up to 50 years in favorable conditions. However, its population has been declining due to habitat loss and possibly to nitrogen deposition from air pollution.

Northern purple pitcherplant is a native, perennial, carnivorous forb. It rises on a radiating cluster (rosette) of 6 to 10 leaves and a single flowering stem from an underground stem (rhizome) and fibrous roots. It often forms dense clumps, sometimes floating masses at the edges of bog ponds and lakes. The rhizome is short, to (3 to 15 mm) in diameter, and usually vertical, sometimes horizontal.

The leaves are modified into pitchers. The pitchers appear with or after the flowers and persist throughout the summer. They may be upright, curve upward from the base (ascending), or decline on the ground with just the tip ascending (decumbent). They are variable in color, usually green with reddish-purple veins, often reddish-purple just near the tip, sometimes completely reddish-purple. They are firm, slightly S-curved, and bulging in the middle. They are usually 2 to 10 (5 to 25 cm) long, rarely up to 17¾ (45 cm) long, and 1316 to 2 (3 to 6 cm) in circumference at its widest point, 3½ times as long as wide. The outer surface is hairless, sometimes waxy. The orifice is round to oval, 916 to 1716 (14 to 36 mm) wide, and open to the sky, allowing the pitcher to collect rainwater.

Each pitcher has a winged extension on the upper (inner) side and a hood at the top. The wing is to 1316 (1 to 3 cm) wide. The hood is thick, erect, heart-shaped, notched at the tip, ¾ to 2 (2 to 5 cm) long, and 1316 to 2¾ (3 to 7 cm) wide. The two rounded lobes at the base arch inward over the orifice. The inner surface is covered with numerous, stiff, downward-pointing, 164 to 116 (0.6 to 2.2 mm) long hairs.

The inflorescence is a single flower at the end of a long, leafless, stalk (scape). The scape is hairless, erect, green to reddish-purple, and 8 to 31 (22 to 79 cm) long.

The flower is 2 to 2½ wide and droops at the end of the scape. There are 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, 50 to 100 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are purplish-red, broadly egg-shaped–triangular, to 1 (22 to 42 mm) long, and to 1 (15 to 35 mm) wide. They curve inward just at the tips. The petals are red to maroon, and are fiddle-shaped, with a small basal portion and a large outer (distal) portion. They curve inward, covering the style. The distal portion is broadly egg-shaped, 1516 to 2116 (33 to 53 mm) long, and to 1316 (15 to 30 mm) wide. The stamens are grouped into 10 to 17 bundles. The style is expanded at the tip into a very broad, 1916 to 2 (4 to 5 cm) in diameter, umbrella-like disk with 5 inward-curved arms.

The fruit is a globe-shaped or egg-shaped, to ¾ (1 to 2 cm) in diameter capsule. As the capsule develops the petals drop off but the sepals persist.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Sarraceniaceae (pitcherplants)

 

Genus:

Sarracenia (pitcherplant)

 

Species:

Sarracenia purpurea (purple pitcherplant)

 

Subspecies:

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea (northern purple pitcherplant)

 
Subordinate Taxa

northern purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea f. heterophylla)

northern purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea f. purpurea)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

common pitcherplant

huntsman's-cup

northern pitcher plant

northern pitcherplant

northern purple pitcher plant

northern purple pitcherplant

 

pitcherplant

purple pitcher plant

purple pitcherplant

side-saddle flower

sweet pitcherplant

turtle socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Ascending

Curving upward from the base.

 

Decumbent

Reclining on the ground but with the tip ascending.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Rosette

A radiating group or cluster of leaves usually on or close to the ground.

 

Scape

On plants: An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster. On insects: The basal segment of the antenna.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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Plant

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  northern purple pitcherplant    
       

Inflorescence

  northern purple pitcherplant    
       

Flower

  northern purple pitcherplant   northern purple pitcherplant
       

Leaves

  northern purple pitcherplant   northern purple pitcherplant
       
  northern purple pitcherplant   northern purple pitcherplant
       
  northern purple pitcherplant   northern purple pitcherplant
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Purple Pitcher Plant
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Purple Pitcher Plant  
 
About

Sarracenia purpurea

 
     

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Wild Carnivorous Plants - Red Sarracenia purpurea
Liguus
 
   
 
About

May 1, 2018

First episode of "Wild Carnivorous plants", feat. some deep red/purple colored Sarracenia purpurea. There were many at this location, easily 100's one you look out at the sphagnum "field" past the board walk.

   
       

 

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Created: 4/19/2020

Last Updated:

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