Yellow Pitcher Plant

By William T. Hathaway
Yellow Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava)

As an amateur botanist who has studied wildflowers in Piedmont Virginia, I was unexpectedly surprised when sighting my first pitcher plant in a roadside bog just west of Supply, North Carolina. This so-called carnivorous plant, that is, flesh-eating — capable of catching small insects — indeed, stirred my curiosity. The long-stemmed yellow flower was standing tall nearby some trumpet-like leaves that were capable of capturing small insects that had fallen to the inside base of the hollow leaves. A sticky liquid, puddled at the closed bottom of the leaves, served the needs of the plant by slowly digesting the insects as nutrients for the plant's survival.

(See also other carnivorous plants.)