E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sarracenia purpurea subsp. gibbosa (Raf.) Wherry
common pitcher-plant (purple pitcherplant)
Sarraceniaceae (Pitcher-plant family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bruce Bennett  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #22942)

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Distribution of Sarracenia purpurea subsp. gibbosa
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Common pitcher plant is a native carnivorous perennial herb that is found in North America primarily in the eastern United States (Conn., Del., Ga., Ind., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.) and across Canada (Alta. B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask), but is also introduced in California and Washington (Flora North America 2011). In British Columbia, it is restricted in occurrence to the northeastern region of the province, where it is found in bogs and fens in the montane zone (Douglas et al. 2000).

Flora North America provides a detailed discussion and description of pitcher plants in North America.

Read more about common pitcher plants in North America by the International Carnivorous Plant Society.

Species Information

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Insectivorous perennial herb from a fibrous root; stems erect, 20-40 cm tall.
Basal leaves clustered, hollow, often marked with purple or dark red, open at the top or with a kidney-shaped flap, with bentback hairs inside the flap and tube.
Inflorescence a solitary flower; petals usually egg-shaped, deep purple on both sides, 2-6 cm long; sepals egg- to diamond-shaped, dark purple outside, pale green inside, 2-6 cm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs and fens in the montane zone; rare in NE BC, known only from the Fort Nelson area; N to NT, E to NF and S to NY, VA, OH, IN, IL, MN and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Sarracenia heterophylla Eat.
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. heterophylla (Eat.) Torr.
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
Sarracenia purpurea var. ripicola Boivin
Sarracenia purpurea var. stolonifera Macfarlane & D.W. Steckbeck
Sarracenia purpurea var. terrae-novae La Pylaie

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References