Mountain sweet pitcher plant
Description: Mountain sweet pitcher plant is a carnivorous perennial herb with tall, hollow pitcher-shaped leaves and red sweet-smelling flowers. The hollow leaves contain liquid and enzymes. When insects fall into the pitchers, they’re digested and the nutrients are incorporated into the plant’s tissues. The evolutionary role of carnivory in such plants is not fully understood, but some evidence indicates that absorption of minerals from insect prey may allow carnivorous species to compete in nutrient-poor habitats. The unusual red flowers (yellow in rare cases) appear from April to June, with fruits ripening in August. Flowering plants reach heights of 29 inches. Very little specific information is available on the biology of mountain sweet pitcher plant. Like other pitcher plants, it has rhizomes that are probably long-lived and capable of persisting and reproducing vegetatively for decades without producing seedlings.
Habitat: Mountain bogs
Range: Mountain sweet pitcher plant is known from a handful of counties in upstate South Carolina and southwest North Carolina.
Listing: Endangered, September 30, 1988. 53 FR 38470 38474
Critical habitat: None designated
Threats: The most serious threat to mountain sweet pitcher plant is the destruction or degradation of its small wetland habitat. Collecting from wild populations continues to be a problem for carnivorous plants, even though cultivated sources are available for almost all species.
Why should we be concerned about the loss of species? Extinction is a natural process that has been occurring since long before the appearance of humans. Normally, new species develop through a process known as speciation, at about the same rate other species become extinct. However, because of air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands, and other man-induced environmental changes, extinctions are now occurring at a rate that far exceeds the speciation rate.
All living things are part of a complex and interconnected network. We depend on the diversity of plant and animal life for our recreation, nourishment, many of our lifesaving medicines, and the ecological functions they provide. One-quarter of all the prescriptions written in the United States today contain chemicals that were originally discovered in plants and animals. Industry and agriculture are increasingly making use of wild plants, seeking out the remaining wild strain of many common crops, such as wheat and corn, to produce new hybrids that are more resistant to disease, pests, and marginal climatic conditions. Our food crops depend on insects and other animals for pollination.
Implement and maintain measures for controlling erosion and storm water during and after land-clearing and disturbance activities. Excess soil in our streams from erosion is one of the greatest water pollution problems we have today.
Be careful with the use and disposal of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. Remember, what you put on your land or dump down the drain may eventually wind up in nearby water.
Support local, state and national clean water legislation.
Report illegal dumping activities, erosion, and sedimentation problems. These activities affect the quality of our water, for drinking, fishing, and swimming.
Species Contact:Mara Alexander
office - 828/258-3939, ext. 238
fax - 828/258-5330
160 Zillicoa St.
Asheville, NC 28801