Sarracenia flava var. flava

Sarracenia flava is commonly referred to as the Yellow Trumpet plant. This common name captures the essence of tall flowering stalks (visibly similar to the “tuning slide” of a trumpet) and pitchers (“bell” of a trumpet). Flowers have bright yellow petals and exude a less-than-lovely essence of cat urine. I have yet to see if the smell is close enough to the real thing to ward off rodents, but maybe we’ll experiment with that one. Either way, it is a highly-variable species of pitcher plant and S. flava var. flava may be the most prototypical variety with tall, slender, yellow-green pitchers, a red “throat” and moderate pitcher venation.

The plant is early to rise in the spring (sometimes as early as late February), sending up the trumpet-esque flowering stalks sooner than most pitcher plant species (except Sarracenia oreophila). Sarracenia flava var. flava naturally grows along the coastal plains of the Atlantic and is most abundant in the Carolinas. Unfortunately for everyone on planet earth, wetland drainage, poaching, and other human activity has turned natural habitat in shopping malls, so make sure your flavas are coming from reputable sources!

Sample of N.A. Pitcher Plants For Sale in the Marketplace

Unique biology of Sarracenia flava var. flava

Trap characteristics

Pitchers of Sarracenia flava var. flava grow between 20 to 36 inches (50.5-91.5 cm) at full maturity. As with most variations of flava, the biggest pitchers usually occur in the spring and summer. They are slender funnels with a flared mouth (the better to eat you with!) and upright lid. I associate the mouth of flavas with the mouth of a frog, which sort-of makes sense when you consider both creature’s diets.
S. flava var. flava has a red blotch on its “throat” (the portion of the lid where it connects to the peristome surrounding the pitcher mouth) that diffuses out into the rest of the pitcher as red venation. Most of this venation appears on the inside of the pitcher, but it does show through the lighter green outer surface. Venation on this variety could be considered subtle when compared to other varieties like S. flava var. ornata (ornata = ornate).

Other notable characteristics

Like all Sarracenia flavas, S. flava var. flava has an arsenal of bug-catching tactics. For instance, not only are their downward pointing needle-like hairs on the lid of the plant, but also deep within the pitcher, at its lowest point. These prevent upward escape. In addition to this, the interior of pitchers are waxy and smooth, preventing insects from getting a solid a foothold to claw their way to freedom. Digestive juices do their part to drown and dissolve an insect’s soft tissues. Liquid levels rise as more insects are caught and pile up within the pitcher.
Trumpet pitcher plants also produce phyllodia, a second type of leaf, in the late summer. Phyllodia are flat, long, straight or curled, and come to a point at their ends. Unlike pitchers, they are not carnivorous. Unlike the pitchers that die back during dormancy, these phyllodia can stick with the pitcher plant until the next growing season, perhaps providing a means to photosynthesize during winter months.

Other Pitcher plant varieties, species & hybrids


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Sarracenia flava var. rugelii

Known as the cutthroat pitcher plant due to the distinct blood red throat blotch. The coloration and high density of nectar glands at this location on the pitcher act as a lure for hungry insects. It's no coincidence that the blotch is located right above the plant's mouth.