Critically endangered, Green pitcher plants have dramatically declined due to illegal over-harvesting. They have an interesting set of leaves, one pitcher-like and one
iris-like. The sword-shaped, iris-like leaves are phyllodia that emerge in late summer and persist through winter. They can spread by dividing rhizomes since these
won’t flower for the first few years after germination.
Sarracenia oreophila (Green pitcherplant)
Deciduous: leaves take cycles, phyllodia evergreen through winter
Hardiness Zones: 6-8
Height: 30-60 centimeters (12-24 inches) tall
Diameter: 30-60 centimeters (12-24 inches) wide
Growth Rate: somewhat slow to moderate
Age: perennial, will not reliably flower until over 5 years old
Root System: rhizome
Tolerates: completely wet conditions (like bogs), low amounts of nutrients
Problems (major): High nutrient soils (like potting soils or fertilizers) are frequently lethal. Plants will likely die if the soil dries out. Aphids, scale, mealybugs, moth
larvae, root rot, and leaf spot all cause significant damage. Illegal harvesting is leading to population decline.
Problems (minor): These require a cold dormancy period, making them problematic as houseplants.
Poisonous: The digestive fluids can cause paralysis to small insects, although it should be no concern to humans.
Soil requirements: requires humusy, acidic, consistently moist or wet, low nutrient soils – commonly found in heavy/clay soils
Air requirements:not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: high, acidic preferred
Sun requirement: full sun
Leaf structure: Basal pitchers formed in early spring and summer give way to phyllodia (sword-shaped leaves that are evergreen through winter and resemble iris foliage to 15 centimeters (6 inches) by 2 centimeter(1 inch) wide). The pitchers are green with red colored veins with a horizontal lid to prevent water from entering and to attract potential prey. The liquid inside digests prey and supposedly causes paralysis in small victims. Hairs facing downwards inside the pitcher leaves help push insects into the plant’s digestive fluids.
Leaf structure: pitchers to 60 centimeters (24 inches) tall by 10 centimeters (4 inches) wide
Flower structure: The flowers are terminal on a single stalk known as a “scape”, yellow, 5-petaled, globular, fragrant, hanging down from the flower spike, to 5
centimeters (2 inches) in diameter. Only one flower grows per spike.
Flowering frequency: May
Fruits: 5 capsules per fruit
Common prey: flies, wasps, ants, beetles, spiders, mites, other small arthropods
Type of carnivorous plant: pitcher
Time required to consume prey: not sufficiently researched
Sphagnum/peat moss preferred: prefers Canadian peat or peat with perlite or sand (50/50 mix)
Symbiotic/Mutualistic relationships: none
This pitcher plant has two sets of leaves, one for consuming insects and one that is evergreen through winter.
Green pitcher plants can be grown as ornamentals, although taking these from the wild is strictly illegal. They grow fairly well in proper conditions in cultivation.
All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is
appropriately cited first.