Dec. 11, 2019

yellow trumpets, Sarracenia alata

Yellow trumpets are actually pitcher-plants. Apparently they're called trumpets to differentiate them from another yellow-flowered species, Sarracenia flava. Maybe S. flava gets to be the pitcher-plant because it's more yellow? These strange flowers have five petals that you see here hanging on the outside. Inside is a greatly enlarged pistil that looks like an upside down umbrella. The lobes of this umbrella are the stigmas that collect pollen. The anthers and ovary are above the umbrella. When the anthers are ready, they drop their pollen onto the umbrella. Some of the nectar from the area of the ovary also drops onto the umbrella. Pollinators first land on the lobes of the umbrella, depositing pollen from other plants as the collect nectar. It has been suggested that the umbrella arrangement helps keep the pollinating insects away from the carnivorous pitchers. This description is boiled down from several articles that describe these strange flowers. Each article was very clear, but they did not entirely agree with each other. Perhaps this is because most pitcher-plant reproduction for growers is done by dividing plants. No need for seeds! Yellow trumpets grow in wet, boggy soil in AL, LA, MS, and TX. There are two separate populations, one from west AL to east LA, and the other in west LA and TX. Matthaei Gardens, U. of Michigan, 2/28/12.