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Carnivorous Plants/Sarracenia Plant Identification


PHOTO #4-1
PHOTO #4-1  
PHOTO #4-2
PHOTO #4-2  
QUESTION: My local nursery periodically has larger potted carnivorous plants.  This particular Sarracenia was being housed outdoors and looked particularly healthy, so I could not resist.  However, the plant is not specifically identified on its label and no one at the nursery had any additional insight.

So far your expertise has identified 3 out of 3 of the plants I've submitted, so I'm hoping that the winning streak will continue.  Fingers-crossed!  Fortunately, this is probably a common and well established plant in your industry, since it is being distributed commercially, and I'm not down on my knees hunting the bottom shelves in the back lots, yet...  ;-)  LOL!

Here's all the information I have and some pictures of the pitchers as follows: (PHOTO #4-1 and PHOTO #4-2 are attached below.)

This plant had a label indicating that it was from a distributor and/or grower called "Xtreem Plants".  They have a website <www.>, where I had hoped to get a little more info on the type of Sarracenias they sell.  However, I believe this website is generalized and the closest in appearance pictured was the S. purpurea.  Although my experience/knowledge is very limited, I think this plant looks too lanky to be a S. purpurea species plant.  Instead, I would guess that this plant is some purpurea hybrid (???).

All pitchers are green with a more lime-yellow coloration appearing at the mouth and hood of the pitcher.  This lighter gradient seems more than just a factor of the sun shining through a thinner wall at the top, because the pitchers still appear gradient even when you take them out of the sunlight.  In addition to the green color, these pitchers have red veining which becomes stronger approaching the mouth, and is most distinct in what I believe are the older pitchers.  This veining extends into the open upright hood.

There are many pitchers and they are arranged radially coming out from a central point at the base.  Unlike "Ladies in Waiting", these pitcher openings do not all face inwards, and some may be more random.  The tallest pitcher is 8 inches tall with a width of 1.5 inches.  The pitcher tube looks thin with the majority of the pitcher's width acting as a wing.  This plant is in a 6 inch container.

Can you identify this Sarracenia?

Again, thank you for all your help; and I sincerely hope that you, your family, friends and everyone at "Sarracenia Northwest" have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


ANSWER: Hi Gretchen,

Thanks for the photos.  That always helps.  Ahh, it's my old friends at Booman Floral.  Xtreem plants and the flytrap help website are part of their retail marketing.  What these guys do is grow hundreds of thousands of plants from seed or tissue culture then mass market them to grocery stores.  They start out with species such as S. purpurea, S. flava, S. minor, but occasionally a hybrid sneaks in there.  That's what you have.  This is most likely an S. x catesbaei (Sarracenia purpurea x Sarracenia flava).  They can look quite different even in the same batch of hybrid seeds depending on how the genes distributed to the seeds.  It's one of the most common naturally occurring Sarracenia hybrids.  It's always a nice plant to have in a collection.

Booman Floral is also infamous for helping to confuse plant names by giving plants cutesy names like "Octopus Plant" or "Starfish Plant".  I don't know how many times I've had a child come up to me at Portland Saturday Market and tell me they have an "Octopus Plant", then ask me why I have the wrong name on mine.  I try to kindly tell them they are a victim of modern marketing and the plant's actual name is Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis).  "Oh and here's a tag you can put on your plant with the correct name". :)

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It is a nice hybrid and I'm enjoying it in my collection.  It also seems robust.  

It's fun that you mentioned the story about the child and the "Octopus" plant.  :-D  Even in my short time involved with carnivorous plants, I've experienced a similar communication gap when talking to garden-center folks.  One person insisted that the "Octopus" plant was not the same plant as the Cape Sundew I was talking to him about.  It was like a shorter version of the "Who's on First" comedy routine, until he finally understood that we were talking about the same plant.  LOL!

BTW, this S. x catesbaei also was labeled with a cutesy name.  It is the "Swamp Monster", where the name was copyrighted no less!  :-O  And now since I have no further need for identification purposes of 'said' label, I will throw it away and make it a new label indicating the unknown parentage, but logical hybrid cross.

Thank you again for your time, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Hi Gretchen,

So they patented the "Swamp Monster" name.  I'd love to see them try and get that to hold up in court.  They did rather sternly warn me one time about patents since they do have a patented Sarracenia hybrid called "Cobra Nest".  I was selling one over seas one time, and I needed them to give me proof of nursery propagation for CITIES, and they curtly informed me that the plant was patented, and that I had better not be propagating it.  I told them I had purchased a wholesale order of them from Booman, and was simply selling one to a customer in Denmark.  

Their "Swamp Monster" label is being used for Sarracenia species which already have recognized common names.  I'm not sure how you get away with patenting wild strains of plants.  Their S. purpureas are just mixes of S. purpurea ssp. venosa, and S. rosea.  There's nothing unique about theirs!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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