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Sarracenia alata

Previously known as:

  • Sarracenia sledgei
Phonetic Spelling
sair-ah-SEEN-ee-ah ah-LAH-tah
Description

The Yellow Trumpets plant is an herbaceous perennial and carnivorous plant in the pitcher plant family native to marshes and bogs, pinelands and wet forest floors in the southeastern United States, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.  In pine forests, it can be found in areas that are not dense with pine, but with meadow-like openings.  Typically, these openings will be waterlogged due to dense soils that lead to high acid in the soil and low nitrogen.  The Yellow Trumpets plants look to insects for nutrients. The flowers of this plant hang at the tip of its leafless stems. The flowers are large in comparison to the leaves.  Each stalk has one flower.  Insects are attracted to the pitcher shaped leaves by droplets of nectar on the leaf along with reddish veins on the open portion of the leaf. The pitcher shaped leaves contain a pool of water.  As the insect makes its way to the water, it will encounter downward-pointing hairs that prevent the insect from exiting. The water pool contains insect-digesting enzymes that assist the plant in digesting the insect.

It has been estimated that 97.5% of pitcher plant habitats have been destroyed in the southeastern United States. They have been threatened in the wild by ongoing development; however, cultivated varieties are available. Some pitcher plants are on the endangered species list while others are on the threatened list.  These plants are threatened by habitat loss, development, and over-collection. Never harvest these plants from the wild. They are best purchased from a reputable carnivorous plant nursery. The genus's name, Sarracenia, honors Dr. Michael Sarrazan of Quebec. In the 1700s, he sent the first pitcher plant to Europe.

Yellow Trumpets plants prefer full sun during the growing season. They require moist to wet, acidic soils of sand and peat, but mostly sand. This plant does not like fertilizers and is sensitive to dissolved salts in chlorinated water. Rainwater or distilled water may be used in place of tap water for container plants. The plants should not be manually fed or given food scraps. The plant cannot digest fats, and fertilizers can burn the plant. The Yellow Trumpets plant goes dormant in the fall and dormancy continues until spring. The leaves will turn brown, but it is best to wait and remove the foliage in the spring just before the flowers emerge. Growing them outdoors can be difficult because moist conditions must be maintained at all times. Indoors they require sun for the growing season and then winter dormancy. Whether grown in a bog garden or in containers the plant requirements must be maintained to be successful.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  

The Yellow Trumpets plant will do poorly if its specific growing conditions are not met. The biggest mistake is keeping the plant too wet. They must be protected from freezing winds. Monitor for aphids, scale, mealybugs, moth larvae, leaf spots, and root rot.

 VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

Profile Video:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#specimen#carnivorous#colorful#spring flowers#pond margins#moist soil#herbaceous perennials#native garden#exotic looking#container plant#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#specimen#carnivorous#colorful#spring flowers#pond margins#moist soil#herbaceous perennials#native garden#exotic looking#container plant#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sarracenia
    Species:
    alata
    Family:
    Sarraceniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alabama to Texas
    Distribution:
    Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas
    Wildlife Value:
    A nectar source for insects.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The root and leaves are sometimes used in herbal remedies but can be toxic and sometimes fatal in high quantities or if misused.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Carnivorous
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    After the petals drop and if the ovary has been pollinated, it will begin to swell. The seed pod develops at the top of the flower. It takes 5 months for the seed pod to mature. It turns brown and then splits open to scatter the seeds. The dry capsule contains pear-shaped seeds anywhere from 20 to 300 seeds. The seeds are scattered and germinate after a period of cold weather.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Bracts
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Description:
    There are 3 bracts, 5 sepals, 5 petals, and many stamens. The style has an extraordinary shape, like an umbrella upside down, with a stigma beneath each of the 5 angles.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Tall, veined, upright yellow pitchers, produced throughout the growing season. Short stiff hairs point downward. Very slippery inside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators