So, why does S. oreophila do this anyway?


I don’t know if you Sarraceniaphiles have noticed this, but Sarracenia oreophila is a little different than most of the other species in the genus… anyone know why? I’ll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with where it grows, or that it grows phylodia… it has something to do with its growth habits.

Well since, I can’t hear anyone yelling out the answer… I’ll have to tell you.  S. oreophila starts sending up pitchers before it sends up flowers. Yep, with most other Sarracenia, you see the flower bud pop out of the rhizome before any of the new seasons leaves. S. oreophila does it the other way around.

You can see in the photo above, that there are a number of formed pitchers already, yet the flower isn’t even close to opening. I’ve often wondered why this is the case and I can honestly say, I haven’t been able to come up with a logical solution.  If there is a reader out there who knows the answer, I’d love to hear it.


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14 Responses to So, why does S. oreophila do this anyway?

  1. Lois M. Ochs says:

    Jest guessing maybe its food is out and about before its poliinator

    • ada says:

      Carl, I think its due to s.oreophila’s shorter growing season.The plant can’t afford to waste any time because they usually finish growing by summer and start to die back.
      So they flower and produce pitchers to get the best of everything so to speak,a bit like a spider eating her mate after mateing.Just my thoughts.

      • Carl Mazur says:

        Funny, I was kinda thinking the same thing… however… doesn’t S. minor do the same, leaves first flowers second? Their pitchers are pretty much year round.

    • Mike Wang says:

      What’s up Carl,
      Awesomoe blog-glad to see things are starting to wake up!

      Here’s my 2 cents: short growing season, highly competitive shrubs/trees shading the area, and plentiful amount of insects could justify why there was pressure to select for plants that opened their pitchers before the flowers. Seems like over time, if you don’t eat and catch bugs fast enough before dormancy, you don’t reproduce and survive in those savage mountain conditions. So what if you catch a pollinator here and there-a million others will fill in its spot…there’s soooo many insects out there!

  2. Here’s a possible hint: go out to your plants at night with a UV flashlight and shine it around for a while. The throats of most Sarracenia tend to fluoresce in UV, leading mine to catch ridiculous numbers of moths along with the usual flies, bees, and wasps. I wouldn’t be surprised if S. oreophilia wasn’t anywhere as reactive in UV as other Sarracenia, at least as far as those early pitchers are concerned. If that’s the case, then the plant can still snag prey attracted by nectar and visible light cues, while continuing to attract pollinators to the flowers.

    • Carl Mazur says:

      That is very interesting indeed… I didn’t know that Sarracenia were fluorescent… Do I need long wave or short wave UV?

      • Long wave seems to work all right for basic illumination, but I’ll warn you that the effect is rather subtle. You won’t get black-light poster effects, but you will see a distinctive fluorescence of the throat and the underside of the lid. I haven’t had the chance to try short wave UV lamps yet, but that’s an experiment I plan to try very shortly, as soon as I get my hands on a good Rock Lite.

      • Carl Mazur says:

        Would love to hear how that goes

      • I’ll be glad to share. In fact, I’m trying to organize a paper for the “Carnivorous Plant Newsletter” on the subject, as a base for further research. Now that UV LEDs make this research easy, I’m very enthusiastic.

  3. coldzerocp0 says:

    I am going to say something no one has said no far
    Nice plants
    I can’t wait for summer growth ;D

  4. ada says:

    Minors are slightly different because i think their main prey are different to their pollinators so flowering at the same time doesn’t matter.If they catch a pollinator its a bonus for them.

  5. Russell says:

    It might be so they can catch and produce extra energy to produce larger amounts of seeds seeds or seeds that have more energy reserves in them so seedlings will grow faster to beat out the competing vegetation. I also agree that it also has to do with it’s short growing season too

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