A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife
It traps insects using a rolled leaf, which in this species is generally smaller and narrower than most species, usually not exceeding 65 cm. in height. Sarracenia rubra is generally clump-forming. The uppermost part of the leaf is flared into a lid (the operculum), which prevents excess rain from entering the pitcher and diluting the digestive secretions within. The upper regions of the pitcher are covered in short, stiff, downwards-pointing hairs, which serve to guide insects alighting on the upper portions of the leaf towards the opening of the pitcher tube. The opening of the pitcher tube is retroflexed into a 'nectar roll' or peristome, whose surface is studded with nectar-secreting glands. Prey entering the tube find that their footing is made extremely uncertain by the smooth, waxy secretions found on the surfaces of the upper portion of the tube. Insects losing their footing on this surface plummet to the bottom of the tube, where a combination of digestive fluid, wetting agents and inward-pointing hairs prevent their escape. Some large insects (such as wasps) have been reported to escape from the pitchers on occasion, by chewing their way out through the wall of the tube. In spring, the plant produces small, bright red flowers with 5-fold symmetry. The red petals are long and strap-like, and dangle over the umbrella-like style of the flower.
It is native to the New World. Its range extends from southern Mississippi, through southern Alabama, the Florida panhandle and Georgia, to the coastal plains of Virginia and South Carolina. Seen at the NC Botanical Garden.