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Common Name: Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia purpurea is a
Eastern N. America - Labrador, south to Kentucky, Iowa and Florida. Naturalized in C. Ireland[
Sphagnum bogs and peaty barrens[
Grow in sun or partial shade in peat or moss[
]. Requires a moist but well-drained position[
]. Plants require continuously moist conditions in a loose compost of sphagnum peat, live sphagnum and coarse acid sand[
]. They can be grown successfully in a plastic basin or in a pot that is standing in a deep saucer of water[
An insectivorous plant[
], it is best grown in a boggy position[
] 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[
A very ornamental and polymorphic plant[
], it is becoming very rare in the wild and is on the CITES II list of endangered species.
The root and leaves are diuretic, hepatic, laxative, stomachic and tonic[
]. They are used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation, liver and kidney complaints[
]. A cold decoction of the whole plant has been used in the treatment of whooping cough[
An infusion of the dried leaves has been used in the treatment of fevers and shakiness[
]. An infusion of the leaves has been used to make childbirth easier and also for sickness associated with an absence of menstrual periods[
]. An infusion of the leaves was at one time considered to be a cure for smallpox[
], though this has never been substantiated[
An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of smallpox[
], there are conflicting reports as to its effectiveness[
]. A decoction of the root has been given to women to help expel the afterbirth and to prevent sickness after childbirth[
]. A strong decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of spitting blood and pulmonary complaints[
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.