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Parrot Pitcher Plant Sarracenia psittacina

Phonetic Spelling
sair-ah-SEEN-ee-ah sit-ah-CHEEN-ah
Description

Pitcher Plant can be found in boggy low-lying areas of pine forests.  It grows in water or in moist, swampy soil that is usually high in sphagnum moss and acid and low in nutrients such as nitrogen.  A typical site can be where a wildfire has destroyed surrounding vegetation and thereby providing full sun.  The plant will obtain its needed nutrients by consuming insects, spiders and maybe even a small frog or two.

The leaves resemble narrow tubes having a wing on the side facing the center of the plant.  Mature plants have leaves with a balloon-like reddish-purple hood with a tipped into a beak-like opening resembling a parrot head, hence the common name.  The tubular pitchers are horizontal to the ground and form a rosette.  These downward facing hoods on mature leaves act like a "lobster trap" to eat insects.  Attracted by the plants' nectar, insects enter the hooded area where they are trapped in the digestive fluid of the plant. Escape is prohibited by downward-facing hairs that allow entry but prohibit exiting.  The plant can survive underwater to so the plant consumes aquatic insects, tadpoles, fish, and even frogs.  

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  A dormant winter period is needed, making this plant not suitable as a houseplant or to tropical climates.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Green Rosette'
    Green flowers
  • Sarracenia psittacina var. okefenokeensis
    Very large
  • Sarracenia psittacina var. psittacina
    Red flowers pitchers various pigments
'Green Rosette', Sarracenia psittacina var. okefenokeensis, Sarracenia psittacina var. psittacina
Tags:
#carnivorous#slow growing#colorful leaves#boggy#wet sites#ponds#wetland#OBL#wet soil intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Green Rosette'
    Green flowers
  • Sarracenia psittacina var. okefenokeensis
    Very large
  • Sarracenia psittacina var. psittacina
    Red flowers pitchers various pigments
'Green Rosette', Sarracenia psittacina var. okefenokeensis, Sarracenia psittacina var. psittacina
Tags:
#carnivorous#slow growing#colorful leaves#boggy#wet sites#ponds#wetland#OBL#wet soil intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sarracenia
    Species:
    psittacina
    Family:
    Sarraceniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Southern Mississippi
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Carnivorous
    Perennial
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2" red-purple flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Narrow, tubular, curving green leaves with red and pale white blotches. Forms a low rosette. 8" pitchers with lateral openings. Dome-like hood has clear spots and the belly of the pitcher has a leafy fin that runs the length of the tube. Nectar is lanced with a chemical that intoxicates the prey. Slippery, downward-pointing hairs. Pitcher-like leaves collect water and trap insects.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Water Garden