The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Sarracenia alata with a lagniappe, 2005

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Veiny plants:
The heavy veining on this plant is remarkable. Do you see that there is a network of smaller veins interconnecting the large vertical veins? The presence of such a network has been cited as a way to differentiate Sarracenia rubra from Sarracenia alata plants in cultivation, and I have found this criterion to be reliable and useful. As such, the netted vein on these pitchers makes this plant an odd little puzzle. If I were faced with this plant in cultivation, I would not know how to classify it--I might tentatively call it a Sarracenia rubra hybrid, and wait to see what the flowers looked like.

What was a reasonable explanation for this peculiar, pretty specimen? The richly colored and veiny Sarracenia psittacina grew in the area (although I had yet to see any). Was it possible that this Sarracenia alata specimen was actually a plant of hybrid ancestry? Is the swelling of the pitcher near the upper part of the tube further indication of hybridization? Hmm. Too bad it wasn't in flower, as some indication of hybrid nature might be visible in the flower, too.

Beth and I spent some time looking around, but didn't find any other carnivores (except for some U. subulata--no surprise there).

Ready to move on, we returned to the car to head towards the really big fields of Sarracenia.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005