Source: Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United
States (The Red Book) FWS Region 4 -- As of
GREEN PITCHER PLANT
STATUS: Endangered, Federal Register, September 21, 1979; effective April 7, 198O).
DESCRIPTION AND REPRODUCTION: The green pitcher plant is a perennial
herb which lives, to some extent, on
decaying insects and leaves which have fallen into the pitcher-like leaves. Its rhizomes are 1 to 1.5 centimeters thick. The leaves
are 2O to 75 centimeters long, and 6 to 1O centimeters in circumference at the orifice. These leaves usually appear with the
flowers or before, gradually narrowing from the orifice to the base, rarely conspicuously winged, externally glabrous, green to
yellow-green. The plant's hood is 2 to 8 centimeters long, reniform to obovate, strongly revolute at the base, internally
gladular-pubescent, purple-reticulate, purple spotted at the base, or yellowish-green. Its phyllodia is 5 to 18 centimeters long,
and .5 to 3.5 centimeters wide, persistent, and more numerous than the leaves. Its scape is 45 to 7O centimeters long. The
petals are 4 to 5.5 centimeters long, and yellow. The style-disk is 5 to 8.5 centimeters wide, and yellow.
Flowering reaches its peak from Mid-April to early June. Ants, pollen-eating
beetles, bumblebees, honey bees, Sarracenia flies,
and assorted number of wild bees of several species are the most frequent visitors to pitcher plant flowers. Vegetative
reproduction from root stocks may also occur.
RANGE AND POPULATION LEVEL: This plant is presently restricted to areas
of the Cumberland Plateau and the Ridge
and Valley Province in northeast Alabama, and to the Blue Ridge of Georgia and North Carolina. There are a total of 34
naturally occurring populations including 31 in Alabama, one in Georgia, and two in North Carolina. Populations in Alabama
occur in the Coosa Valley area (Cherokee and Etowah Counties), and on Sand Mountain (Dekalb, Etowah, Marshall, and
Jackson Counties). In Georgia (Towns County) and North Carolina (Clay County), sites are in the Lake Chatuge area.
Historical populations are documented for Elmore County, Alabama; Fentress County, Tennessee; and Troup, Taylor, and
Chattooga Counties, Georgia. Most of the sites are small in terms of area occupied by plants and number of individuals.
Population sizes range from one to several hundred individuals, with most having fewer than 5O plants.
HABITAT: The habitats of extant populations of the green pitcher plant
vary somewhat, including mixed oak or pine
flatwoods, seepage bogs, and streambanks (Little River). Fire appears to play a major role in the maintenance of extant
populations in seepage bogs and mixed oak flatwoods.
REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: Like many other carnivorous plants, the
green pitcher plant is often collected for
commercial sale. Because of its limited range, collecting has a heavy impact on these plants and in some areas has caused the
complete disappearance of the species. Since Alabama has no state laws protecting rare, endangered, or threatened species,
regulatory mechanisms to prevent removal by collectors are essentially nonexistent. Increased residential, agricultural, and
silvicultural development, as well as fire suppression, further threaten populations.
MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION: Sites where the green pitcher plant grows
must be carefully managed to prevent
degradation and to insure that natural processes, such as fire, continue to occur. Nursery inspections might be carried out to
monitor commercial stocks and quarantine officials could be helpful in controlling interstate and international shipments.
Bell, C.R. 1949. A Cytotaxonomic Study of the Sarraceniaceae of North America. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Soc.
Bell, C.R. 1952. Natural hybrids of the genus Sarracena. History, Distribution
and Taxonomy. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell
Sci. Soc. 68:55-80.
Bell, C.R. 1956. Natural Hybrids in the Genus Sarracenia. Current Notes
on Distribution. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Sci.
Dennis, W. Michael. 1979. Sarracenia oreophila (Kearney) Wherry in the
Blue Ridge Province of Northeastern Georgia.
Castanea, In Press.
Folkerts, George W. 1976. Endangered and Threatened Carnivorous Plants
of North America. In Prance, G. & T. Elisa.
Extinction is Forever. The New York Botanical Garden. NY pp. 303-313.
Freeman, J.D., A.S. Causey, and J.W. Short. 1979. Endangered, Threatened,
and Special Concern Plants of Alabama.
Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science. 50:1-26.
Harper, R.M. 1918. The American Pitcher Plants. Journal of the Mitchell Society. 34:110-125.
McDaniel, S.T. 1971. The genus Sarracenia. Bull. Tall Timbers Research Station. 9:36.
**U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. Revised Green Pitcher Plant
Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta,
Georgia. 61 pp.
Wherry, E.T. 1933. The Appalachian Relative of Sarracenia flava. Bartonia No. 15:7-8.
Wood, C.E. 1960. The Genera of Sarraceniaceae and Droseraceae in the
Southeastern U.S. Journal Arnold Arboretum.