Sarracenia oreophila seeds, carnivorous green pitcher plant
Sarracenia oreophila belongs to the family of the Sarraceniaceae, the pitcher plants. The plant is native to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. It is a relatively small distribution area and nowadays one can only find S. oreophila in North Carolina and Alabama. Due to that fact it is rated as a threatened species and one tries to protect the plant with different projects to avoid the extinction.
S. oreophila is also known as green pitcher plant. The discoverer of S. oreophila first thought that it is just a variation of Sarracenia flava, the yellow pitcher plant. The pitcher of the green pitcher plant is green to slightly yellow. The lid above the pitcher opening seems to be red when the sun shines on it.
The pitcher, actually the leaf of S. oreophila, reaches a length of about 60 cm. The pitcher opening is covered by a lid that stands horizontal above the opening. The lid avoids that too much rainwater enters the pitcher. Too much rainwater would dilute the solution with the digestion enzymes inside the pitcher. This would lead to a much longer digestion period. So S. oreophila has a different tactic than S. purpurea that needs the rainwater for digestion. The insects are attracted by the red color of the lid and fall down the pitcher that is very smooth inside.
In summer the green pitcher plant does not invest energy to build up more pitchers. In summer the so called phylloides are built. Those are leaf petioles that are thickened and look like a leaf. They can be easier supplied with water during dry periods than the big pitchers. It is a special adaptation.
The flower of the green pitcher plant stands clearly above the pitcher. The flower has an up to 70 cm long flower stalk. This long stalk avoids that the pollinators come near the pitcher and are trapped. This would not make any sense for the plant because it would lose the pollen the insect has collected. The flower is yellow to yellow greenish and hangs down. This hanging down of the flower makes it easy for the pollinator to go inside the flower. With this tactic S.oreophila makes sure that pollen is collected. The flower of S. oreophila reaches 5 cm in diameter and the petals get 5 cm long as well.
The ovary that is formed out of the flower after successful pollination is brown and reaches 2 cm in diameter. The seeds inside are brownish as well and have a waxy and nubby surface.
The seeds of Sarracenia oreophila need stratification before planting. If one does not stratify the seeds only few seeds will germinate. For stratification the seed should be put moist for 6 week into the fridge. After that they can be planted into the substrate. The substrate should be nutrient- poor and it should not include lime. The whole genus Sarracenia does not tolerant lime. The best germination success occurs when one uses Sphagnum moss as substrate. The stratified seeds in the substrate or the Sphagnum moss should be placed sunny and warm. At a temperature of about 20 to 25°C germination should occur after 4 weeks. Unlike other Sarracenia species S. oreophila can tolerated dry periods and also extremely low temperatures.