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Sarracenia flava Linnaeus

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Sarracenia flava Linnaeus

Yellow pitcherplant

by Edgar T. Wherry

[Click the map for a larger view]The yellow pitcher plant developed farther east than its relative, the pale pitcher plant, and in the course of the Tertiary uplift and erosion whichSarracenia flava resulted in the development of the southern highlands it managed to survive in a number of places in North Carolina. As the sea gradually withdrew from the old shore line, leaving new land open for occupation by plants, the seeds of this species traveled down various river systems in North and South Carolina and Georgia, and started colonies in the coastal Plain. Lateral spreading from these colonies also occurred, and the species reached on the one hand, nearly to the Alabama River, and on the other, to the James River in Virginia.

Like most plants with such a geologic history, this pitcher plant gradually lost its aggressiveness, and by the middle Tertiary time, its colonies apparently ceased to expand further. Accordingly, although it grows in abundance in moist meadows and depressions in pinelands, it has never been able to enter lower peninsular Florida, which emerged from the sea only toward the close of the Tertiary.

The image above is a manuscript sketh of S. flava by Frank Morton Jones. Click the image for a larger view.

Click here for the watercolor by Mary Vaux Walcott.

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

Back to the Index of North American Pitcher Plants.