Herbs and Other Plant Species of the World's Boreal Forests

World Boreal Trees

Terminology | Pictorial

Sarracenia purpurea
Northern Pitcher Plant
Sarraceniaceae (Pitcher-Plant Family)

A striking carnivorous plant, growing to a height of 20 - 60 cm.


Northern Pitcher Plant Distinguishing Features - Leaves: bronzy, reddish-green, hollow, 10 - 30 cm long, with a wide flaring terminal lip covered with stiff, downward-pointing hairs. Flowers: solitary, rose pink to dark red, 5 cm wide; 5 petals; numerous stamens; style expanded, umbrella-shaped. Fruit: a capsule with laterally winged seeds.


Native to North America; Saskatchewan, Hudson Bay to Labrador and Nova Scotia, south to Virginia and Maryland, west to Iowa; occasional in the Great Lakes region; sphagnum bogs, savannas, and flat woods; very wettest parts of bogs are favored; forms dense, floating mats on the water at the edges of bog ponds and lakes and across acidic streams.


The Northern Pitcher Plant is classified as carnivorous rather than insectivorous because consumption includes not only insects but also isopods, mites, spiders, and the occasional small frog.

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