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Sarracenia purpurea - L.

Common Name Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcherplant, Huntsman's Cup, Purple Pitcher Plant, Sweet Pitcher Plant, Com
Family Sarraceniaceae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sphagnum bogs and peaty barrens[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Labrador, south to Kentucky, Iowa and Florida. Naturalized in C. Ireland[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sarracenia purpurea Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcherplant, Huntsman

Sarracenia purpurea Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcherplant, Huntsman


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Bloom Color: Green, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Sarracenia purpurea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Diuretic  Hepatic  Kidney  Laxative  Oxytoxic  Stomachic  Tonic  Women's complaints

The root and leaves are diuretic, hepatic, laxative, stomachic and tonic[4, 61, 222]. They are used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation, liver and kidney complaints[61]. A cold decoction of the whole plant has been used in the treatment of whooping cough[257]. An infusion of the dried leaves has been used in the treatment of fevers and shakiness[257]. An infusion of the leaves has been used to make childbirth easier and also for sickness associated with an absence of menstrual periods[257]. An infusion of the leaves was at one time considered to be a cure for smallpox[4, 257], Arizona State University reached a positive outcome testing Saracenia Purpurea vs. smallpox. Results illustrate conclusively that this herb is able to kill the virus. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of smallpox[207, 213]. A decoction of the root has been given to women to help expel the afterbirth and to prevent sickness after childbirth[257]. A strong decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of spitting blood and pulmonary complaints[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Container, Specimen, Woodland garden. Grow in sun or partial shade in peat or moss[188]. Requires a moist but well-drained position[4]. Plants require continuously moist conditions in a loose compost of sphagnum peat, live sphagnum and coarse acid sand[260]. They can be grown successfully in a plastic basin or in a pot that is standing in a deep saucer of water[260]. An insectivorous plant[61], it is best grown in a boggy position[1] in a soil that is low in nitrogen. The leaves form cups which become filled with water in which insects become trapped, drown and are digested by the plant[4]. A very ornamental and polymorphic plant[200], it is becoming very rare in the wild and is on the CITES II list of endangered species. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species but would suggest sowing the seed in light shade in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Division might be possible.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Sarracenia flavaYellow Trumpet, Yellow pitcherplant, Huntsman's Horn, Yellow Trumpet, Trumpets, Yellow Pitcher PlanPerennial0.5 6-9 FLMHSNWe01 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

   Fri Mar 21 2008

Under other uses, the pitchers themselves could be emptied of bug-fluid and used as waterproof containers. For seed, S. purpurea requires a period of 4-8 weeks cold stratification. Place the seed in moist Sphagnum moss or a moistened paper towel, preferably with fungicide, into a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator. It takes 2-6 weeks for sown seed to germinate. Under cultivation notes, the plant requires full sun and no less. Part shade will not work as S. purpurea has a light requirement almost double most of the other carnivorous plant species. Natural burns keep vegetation back and prevent pitcher plants from being shaded out. The bogs in which they naturally grow have no trees, and for these two reasons they enjoy and become strongest in full sun. Another excellent reference book for this and other carnivorous plants is The Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato.

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