Sunbelle Exotics, Inc.      

Specializing in Nepenthes and Sarracenia


What is a Sarracenia?   

"North American Pitcher Plant" GENUS SARRACENIA

Sarracenia are carnivorous plants.  There are eight species native to the bogs of the Southeast United States.  Their trumpet-like pitchers are used to trap and digest insects.  There is endless variation in colors, shapes, and sizes; from the very popular lacey, fanned tops, or the slick green tubes with red veins, hooded, short and tubby, and everything in between.  Often mistaken for flowers, the pitcher or trap is actually the leaf of the plant and has nothing to do with reproduction.  The colorful lid on the tube-shaped traps works as a lure for insects, and does not close down.  Sarracenia typically bloom in spring, producing showy flowers that range in color from ivory white to yellows, pinks and oranges, into deep red.  In this growers opinion, Sarracenia flowers are the prettiest of all the carnivorous plants. 

 Don’t forget, these vibrant and delicate “trumpet” shaped pitchers are actually savage bug eaters. 

 How They Trap Insects:

Well, savage may not be the best choice in describing the “passive” traps of the Sarracenia.  Unlike the infamous Venus Fly trap, the Sarracenia pitcher does not enclose around its prey.  There is no movement involved, the pitcher, or trap, attracts insects by secreting a honey like substance around the opening.  This honey contains a heavy duty narcotic, so poor Mr. Bug gets disoriented, and in a stupor he falls into the trap.  Once inside the pitcher, the insect prey cannot escape because of the extremely slick texture of the inside walls.    There are even thick hairs inside the trap pointing down to prohibit anything from climbing out and escaping.  It is a mostly dry and slow digestive process, let’s leave the rest to our imaginations. 

Even though they grow in swamps and bogs, Sarracenia are great container plants.