Purple Pitcher Plant Facts
- First of all, the slightly tongue-twisting term of Purple Pitcher Plant serves as the common name for a remarkable variety of carnivorous plant. However, the scientific name of the species, Sarracenia purpurea, is nearly as hard to pronounce.
- Further, this legitimately astounding variety of flora also goes by several alternate common names. These different terms include such colorful choices as the northern pitcher plant, the side-saddle flower, or the comical term of the turtle-socks.
- Regardless of which name one uses to refer to it, the plant remains a most fascinating species. Quite remarkably, its original recognition also occurred long ago. The Quebec surgeon, Michael Sarrazin, made that initial scientific description in the year 1601.
- Furthermore, its discovery and recognition also instigated the formation of an entirely new Family, named Sarraceniaceae. For the moment, however, the population base of this fascinating variety of carnivorous flora appears to be relatively stable.
- This holds true throughout the entirety of its native range. Therefore, the IUCN does not currently have a listing for it on its Red List. Nevertheless, the magnificent Purple Pitcher Plant could find itself at some potential risk in the near future.
- For one thing, habitat represents a growing risk, as humans continue to expand into its habitat. But, the greatest risk to the continued existence of this fascinating plant most likely comes from the ongoing effects of climate change.
Purple Pitcher Plant Physical Description
Although the aptly-named Purple Pitcher Plant certainly merits fascination, it does not do so based on physical size. That holds true due to the simple fact that this particular Angiosperms only qualifies as an average-sized form of carnivorous plant.
However, it certainly has other aspects of its physiology to respect and admire. In this, it demonstrates the fact that size remains irrelevant to impressiveness. Firstly, specimens of the stunning Purple Pitcher Plant attain an average height of 7.9 – 15.8 in (20 – 40 cm).
Secondly, the plant produces a single flower at the top of that tall, thin stem. This appears as a flattened ring, with dark maroon-colored petals. The remarkable leaves of the plant, often tinged with purple themselves, attain an average length of roughly 11.8 in (30 cm).
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophytes
- Class: Angiosperms
- Order: Eudicots
- Family: Sarraceniaceae
- Genus: Sarracenia
- Species: S. purpurea
Purple Pitcher Plant Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
To the surprise of a great many people, the remarkable Purple Pitcher Plant has a comparatively large, if somewhat oddly shaped, range of distribution. That holds true because the fascinating Angiosperm inhabits a fairly large section of the globe.
Further, that’s because it appears in a relatively broad swathe of North America. Firstly, this zone of habitation comprises nearly all of the country of Canada. Secondly, though, the awesome species also appears in very specific parts of the United States.
More specifically, this range of habitation consists of the Eastern seaboard, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes region, Washington state, and parts of the state of Alaska, as well. Also, like many related species, it evolved as native to ecosystems that most plants find inhospitable.
This characteristic forms the very reason why such plants developed carnivorous natures to augment other nutrient-producing processes. In its case, this mostly consists of peat moss bogs. However, it will also appear in any wetland, and even roadside ditches.
The Purple Pitcher Plant traps its prey when it enters the pitcher. This occurs because the downward pointing hairs prevent it from leaving. Its prey mostly consists of small insects, such as flies, spiders, ants, and occasionally moths.