How come they’re Pink?

redflavaI took this photo over a week ago and finally have time to post it… At first glance it looks like it could be a flower of flava x leuco flower or flava x purpurea.  There is probably some truth the latter.

As you all know, S. flava produces very large yellow, cat pee smelling flowers!  Well these flowers are large and do smell like cat pee!  but they aren’t yellow!  These are the famed “pink flowered” flavas from Bay Co. Florida.  They originated from what is now a pine plantation in what was once a bog called Cook’s Bayou.  These plants are 100% morphologically S. flava. The leaves turn red in full sun and in many cases these have been called atropurpurea by many growers.  However, unlike true atros, these flowers are pink and get darker as flower gets older.    I’ve had conversations with many other growers over the years regarding these plants.  The consensus seems to be that these plants are of hybrid origin, likely introgressed with S. purpurea and backcrossed many times with flava.  Over time, it has yielding a flava looking plants with lots of red pigment in the leaves and a flush of red in the flowers.


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One Response to How come they’re Pink?

  1. John Nielsen says:

    Hi Carl,
    I’ve got a flava var, atropurpurea that is like this as well, although it is a more subtle pink than your plants. Morphologically, these plants are flava as well, and ditto its growth patterns (spring pitchers and phyllodes in late summer). My plants do, however, get very faint areoles (ie. white leucophylla hood windows) around the periphery of the hood that are solidly red at the end of season – this indicates that somewhere it this plant’s history is a leucophylla backcross. Hybridisation is something that seems to make plant taxonomy difficult in many instances, and Sarracenia seem to be one of these groups (google the phylogeny of Sarracenia to see how much of a mess it is – indicating massive hybridisation). If you apply a Punnet square to a cross between Sarracenia flava and leucophylla/purpurea, it becomes evident that it is possible – remotely, but possible – to hide evidence of hybridisation (eg. in flower colour) in very few crosses. Assuming co-dominance does not make much of a difference either. Accordingly, it is possible that any Sarracenia ‘species’ could be hiding mixed ancestry, and in some instances only a selfing will reveal the hybridisation. Personally, I recognise the situation for what it is and use the name “Saracenia flava var. atropurpurea, leucophylla introgressed” on the label.
    Cheers, and thanks for a great post,
    John N (Canberra, Australia, pitcherplantation blog).

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