Sometimes while searching among the most remote wild places across North America hunting down rare native orchids and other flora and fauna, I often find patches of amazing animal-eating carnivorous plants! This is exactly how I stumbled into these hooded pitcher plants (Sarracenia minor) in the Osceola National Forest in North-Central Florida….by sheer lucky accident!

Hooded Pitcher Plant

Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia minor)

Found only in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, the hooded pitcher plant is one of the smaller of our native pitcher plants found at the edges of bogs and wet pinelands. Like all carnivorous plants, red coloration and sweet nectar glands inside the “hood” attract insects where a series of hairs inside the pitcher (a modified leaf) encourages the insect downward into the tube until it cannot turn around and escape. These insects will in turn be dissolved and deliver the essential nutrients that are needed in  a plant that grows in such nutrient-poor soils.

Hooded Pitcher Plant

This is the blossoming flower that is ironically also pollinated by flying insects.

Hooded Pitcher Plant

White translucent “windows” at the top and the rear side of the hood guide insects into an array of hairs inside the pitcher, that in turn guide them downward into the tube until they cannot turn around until they eventually die and get digested.

MORE CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

                                                                                          

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Rich Leighton
July 24, 2016
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