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Sarracenia rubra Walter

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Sarracenia rubra Walter

Sweet pitcherplant

by Edgar T. Wherry

As shown by the accompanying map, sweet pitcher-plant occurs mostly near the fall line in Georgia and South Carolina, although in North[Click the map for a larger view] Carolina it extends to the coast. Its northernmost know station is at Southern Pines, in Moore County. There is also an apparently isolated area in western Florida.

This distribution indicates that the species originated, as a descendent of Sarracenia jonesii, somewhere on the headwaters of the Santee River system. Being very sensitive to cold, it was exterminated in its ancestral home by the climatic changes accompanying the Tertiary uplift, but seeds meanwhile drifted downstream and colonized the Coastal Plain. Its development chiefly near the fall line indicates its early arrival after the retreat of the sea, but it soon lost its aggressiveness and only locally reached the outer part of the Coastal Plain.

The favorite habitat of the sweet pitcher plant is a moist, grassy thicket near the margin of a swamp, although it can also grow in dense shade. the soil is usually peaty and intensely acid.

Click here for the watercolor by Mary Vaux Walcott.

Click here for USDA's current information and distribution map of this species.

Back to the Index of North American Pitcher Plants.