Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hooded Pitcherplant - Sarracenia minor   Walter
Members of Sarracenia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Nepenthales » Family Sarraceniaceae
DistributionOccurs only in the southern Coastal Plain, formerly north to Pender and Cumberland counties. However, it is apparently still extant in just three of the six known counties -- Brunswick, Columbus, and New Hanover. A specimen at DUKE verifies the dot in RAB (1968) for Cumberland County.

This is a Coastal Plain species occurring from southeastern NC south to central FL. It does not occur west of FL, and thus it is found in only four states -- NC, SC, GA, and FL.
AbundanceRare and clearly declining, owing mostly to fire suppression, and secondarily to habitat destruction for pine plantations. There are 10 records in their database, but only one or two are on protected/managed land, and a number of them are from the 1990s and earlier. In late 2022, the NCNHP moved the State Rank from S2 to a more imperiled S1. It is a State Endangered species (though the designation is technically for the sole variety found in the state -- var. minor).
HabitatThis species is essentially found only in savannas, but generally in wetter spots within them, including natural or man-made swales. Unfortunately, it does not grow in most of the larger and better maintained savannas in the state, most of which are slightly to the northeast of the species' range.
PhenologyBlooms from March to May, generally slightly later than does S. flava. Fruits from June to July.
IdentificationThis is the second easiest pitcherplant species in the state to identify, after S. purpurea. It has a few leaves, each a broader pitcher than for other species, almost looking inflated, and the top of the 1-foot-tall pitcher is curved from the back to produce a hood, which makes the pitcher opening almost completely covered. Also, the back of the hood contains numerous large white spots, rendering it completely different from any others in the genus in NC; the hood is generally a pale red color that blends into the green of the main part of the pitcher. The flowering stalk nearly reaches the top of the pitchers; it is topped by a very large flower about the size of a baseball. The flower nods, and the five 2-3-inch long petals, which are a light yellow, also are drooping. (The flower is not quite as rich a yellow as that of S. flava, but the two rarely are found together in NC, unlike in SC, GA, and FL.) It is imperative to protect more sites of this species in NC by acquiring more lands in western Brunswick County, where most of the sites are known. Also, biologists need to re-survey old sites and search for a few additional ones.
Taxonomic CommentsThough this has always been a good species, it has been split into at least two varieties. The one in NC is the nominate one -- S. minor var. minor.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG4
State Status[E]
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieBrunswick County, 2015, Green Swamp. BrunswickPhoto_natural
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