Sarracenia flava var atropurpurea
This one is my personal favorite. In full sun and proper growing conditions, this variant turns red from top to bottom. The one shown below is getting there… but not quite yet.
Notice the nectar roll is yellow. In many specimens of var atropurpurea, the lip and inside of the pitcher can stay tan in color… The cultivar “Waccamaw” (below) exemplifies this type of coloration. (photo credit to Julian Brooks)
S. flava var atropurpurea is confined to southern NC and northern SC in small numbers. However, there is another area where these pure red plants can be found… the Florida panhandle. There is a large population of these plants in the Blackwater State Forest. These plants turn completely red, no yellow nectar roll or light colored interior. What is interesting here is that you can actually still see the veins and the throat splotch! (photographed at Blackwater SF, 2012)
Many years ago someone told me that the plants in Blackwater were a result of a transplants from NC done many, many years ago. I bought into that theory at first, but looking at the two plants side by side, I feel they are different. The gulf coast atros appear to be solid red forms of the typical gulf coast form of flava var rugelii (discussed below) as indicated by the defined throat splotch.
Sarracenia flava var. rugelii
This form is easy to identify! It is a brilliant yellow/green leaf with a distinct red band around the base of the hood column. Often referred to as a “throat splotch”. For years, before this plant was given taxonomic status by Don Schnell, it was referred to as Sarracenia flava “cut throat” (for obvious reasons). I have not seen plants like this in the Carolinas, however, it is the predominant form in southern GA, FL panhandle and south eastern AL. Below is a photo of var rugelli from Bulloch Co. GA in my bog garden.
The plant below is somewhat of an anomaly to me. It comes from Bulloch Co. GA as well. I think it is treated as flava var flava, however it’s stature is different from the var flava forms of the Carolinas. Its a much “beefier” plant, wider opening at the top and larger hood, same form and characteristics as var rugelii, however, its veined. Also, var flava to the best of my knowledge does not have the distinct “cut throat”, but rather a redder throat area due to the confluence of veins.
Sarracenia flava var rubricorpora
Funny as I started writing this post on flava variants, I realized my only two rubricopora specimens died from the cold this winter! So I had to go to my photo collection to see if I had any good photos. Sadly, this is the best I got.
Variant rubricorpora is very unique. It has a beautiful red pitcher tube and yellow veined lid, with yellow nectar roll and pitcher interior. Before it was given taxonomic status it was referred to as S. flava “red tube”. This plant is limited to the FL panhandle, with many beautiful colonies in the Apalachicola State Forest.
Var rubricorpora has been confused over the years with var atropurpurea. As the season progresses, the defining yellow lid suffuses with red, in some cases so much so that the plant looks to be var atropurpurea. I know this is not the best photo, but if you take a look at the newer pitcher in the bottom left, you can see its a yellow lid… but the rest of the plant is quite red.
I’ve seen Sarracenia at both ends of its natural range and all points inbetween over the years. It is truly the most impressive of all the species in my opinion. The color variation and stature of the plant is remarkable. Although very striking in cultivation, nothing beats a field of flavas on a hot summer day!