Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia rubra ssp. jonesii)
Family: Pitcher Plant (Sarraceniaceae)
Federal Status: Endangered, listed September 30, 1988
Best Search Time: April through October
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 (74 centimeters). 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 sweet pitcher plants are found in mountain bogs.
Distribution: Mountain sweet pitcher plants are known from the upstate of South Carolina and southwestern North Carolina.
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.
References:Buchanan, M.F. and J.T. Finnegan. 2010. Natural Heritage Program List of the Rare Plant Species of North Carolina. N.C. Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh, NC.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant Recovery Plan. Atlanta, Georgia. 39 pp.
For More Information on Mountain sweet pitcher plant...
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System
- Mountain sweet pitcher plant Recovery Plan
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database
- Center for Plant Conservation species profile
Mara Alexander, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 828-258-3939 ext. 238
Species profile revised on September 15, 2011.