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Vascular Plants of California
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Sarracenia purpurea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: SarraceniaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, generally from slender rhizome, short caudex, or stolon; carnivorous; roots poorly developed. Leaf: in basal rosette, prostrate to erect, each forming a tubular pitcher with fluid that digests captured prey by enzymes, bacteria, or other organisms, with stiff, reflexed hairs within. Inflorescence: scapose, flower generally 1. Flower: bisexual, radial, nodding; sepals 5 [4--6], generally free; petals 5 [0]; stamens many; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 5, incomplete above or not, placentas generally axile, style 1, 5-lobed, umbrella-like or not, stigma terminal or under tips of style lobes. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal; valves generally 5. Seed: many, flattened-ovoid, smooth, or club-like, papillate [winged].
Genera In Family: 3 genera, 24 species: northern California, Oregon, British Columbia, eastern North America, northern South America, especially acidic bogs, streamsides, moist areas; often planted outside native ranges by horticulturists but generally not invasive.
eFlora Treatment Author: Barry A. Rice
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: SarraceniaView Description 

Leaf: pitcher top generally with vertical or overhanging lid [top dome-like, without glassy-transparent windows, only in Sarracenia psittacina and its hybrids], opening generally upward, tube with digestive fluids within. Flower: sepals, petals 5; ovary chambers 5, style tip umbrella-like, peltate.
Species In Genus: 11 species: eastern United States, eastern Canada to British Columbia. Etymology: (Michel S. Sarrazin, Quebec physician, naturalist, 1659--1735) Note: Many species, hybrids (traits intermediate) planted in northern California (Mendocino, Del Norte cos.; expected elsewhere), proliferating slowly if at all.
Sarracenia purpurea L.
Leaf: ascending to nearly erect, < 20 cm, green-yellow to deep red, enlarged upward. Inflorescence: 20--60 cm. Flower: sepals 2--6 cm, ovate to rhombic, abaxially green to dark purple-red, adaxially pale green, dark purple-red near margins or not; petals 2--6 cm, obovate, tapered to a short claw, purple-red (green); style tip +- 3--5 cm wide. Fruit: 1--2.5 cm, +- spheric to ovoid, 5-lobed. Seed: 1--2 mm, flattened, ovate-oblong, brown to +- purple. Chromosomes: 2n=26.
Ecology: Acidic seeps, marshes, bogs; Elevation: < 1200 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo (Mendocino Co.), KR (Del Norte Co.), n SNH (Butterfly Valley), possibly elsewhere; Distribution Outside California: native to eastern North America. Flowering Time: May--Jul Note: Despite eradication (easily accomplished by hand), plants continue to appear outside cultivation, especially in NCo, northern SNH, due to replanting. Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea (pitchers smooth, glabrous abaxially) and Sarracenia purpurea subsp. venosa (Raf.) Wherry (pitchers rough or hairy abaxially), both recognized taxonomically, as well as intermediates between the two, in addition to other sp., often planted outside cultivated in California, where they persist and reproduce vegetatively at slow rates.
Jepson eFlora Author: Barry A. Rice
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Sarracenia purpurea

botanical illustration including Sarracenia purpurea


Citation for this treatment: Barry A. Rice 2012, Sarracenia purpurea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=43271, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. venosa var. montana
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Rice

More photos of Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Sarracenia purpurea:
NCo (Mendocino Co.), KR (Del Norte Co.), n SNH (Butterfly Valley), possibly elsewhere
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).