...Notes from the Field

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The Most Beautiful Carnivore in Florida

by | Apr 30, 2010

The Apalachicola National Forest is very large and mostly rural tract in North Florida’s Panhandle region – an area known for its rich and abundant wildlife, beautiful longleaf pine woodlands, isolated Appalachian/Carolina-region species, and for the botanists – carnivorous plants. We have lots of them – in every shape, form, and color.

Gulf Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia rosea)

Gulf Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia rosea)

The beautiful flower of the gulf purple pitcher plant, growing in the Apalachicola National Forest – world renowned for its carnivorous plant biodiversity.

The “pitcher” part of the plant is really a modified leaf that forms a short thick tube that collects rainwater, adds a digestive enzyme, and waits for hapless insects to fall into from which there is no escape. These will then be digested and used as food for this carnivorous beauty that thrives in the acidic and nutrient-poor seepage bogs where most plants cannot. The gulf purple pitcher plant is the only one found in the state of Florida that is open to the rain. All other pitcher plant species have a hood or covering.

For more photos of the pitchers themselves, click here to see images from past seasons. 

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