The Hooded Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia minor, is a carnivorous plant that lives in wet areas like swamps and bogs in the southeastern coastal plain of North America, ranging from coastal North Carolina through south-central Florida. It has long upright tubular leaves with deep cavities that are perfectly evolved to trap unsuspecting insects using a combination of nectar, sweet scent, and conspicuous coloration. Like all carnivorous plants, it lives in areas that are nutrient poor, and it is able to obtain important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus by digesting insects that fall into it’s specialized insect trap leaves.
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Sarracenia minor, known as the hooded pitcher plant, is native to the southeastern coastal plain of North America and ranges from coastal North Carolina through south-central Florida. Like all pitcher plants, it is carnivorous and obtains part of its nutrients by capturing and digesting insects.
It lures unsuspecting insects into it specialized leaves with a combination of nectar, sweet scent, and conspicuous coloration. It has long upright tubular leaves with deep cavities that act as pitfall traps.
Each leaf has a strongly recurved reddish hood extending over the top of the tube. Inside the hood are nectar glands that attract insects. Translucent white spots opposite the entrance of the tube fool insects into flying toward the light transmitted through the spots. Once inside the tube, insects find it hard to get out due to the tube’s slippery inner surface with downward pointing hairs. Insects that fall into the bottom of the tube can be trapped in a digestive fluid that digests the soft parts of their bodies, leaving behind any undigested body parts like tiny skeletons in the bottom of the tube.
Sarracenia minor lives in wet swampy or boggy areas in openings among pines or on marsh borders. Like all carnivorous plants, it lives in areas that are poor in nutrients, and its carnivorous habit evolved as a way to obtain important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
The hooded pitcher plant was first described by Thomas Walker in 1788. As indicated by its species name—minor—it is a small pitcher plant, typically standing about 25-30 centimeters (10-12 inches) tall. There is one tall form of the plant in the Okefenokee Swamp on the border between Florida and Georgia that reaches 90-120 centimeters (3-4 feet). The plants grow in perennial clumps that can reach several feet in diameter. In addition to its fascinating tubular leaves, the hooded pitcher plant has unusual, relatively large yellow flowers with rounded petals that droop downwards on a single stalk.
|Scientific Name:||Sarracenia minor|
|Common Name:||Hooded Pitcher Plant|
|Description of facts and concepts:||Carnivorous plant; insects are caught inside the hollow leaves and digested to provide the plant with nitrogen.|
|Seed or division information:||Rhizome or runner root. Seed pods ripen from early summer to fall and can have 20-200 small pear-shaped seeds.|
|Date of flower’s bloom (Month and week):||Spring|
|Ecoregion:||Wet pinelands or marshes|
|Color of Flower:||Yellow nodding or drooping flowers with 5 petals|
|Soil Type: Base to Acidic||Acidic (pH 3.0-5.0)|
|Soil: Dry to Wet||Wet soils;|
|Light: Sun to Shade||Full sun to partial shade|