What have we here? Is this an image of a new chair from the Milan Furniture Fair? Something new from the mind of Zaha Hadid? Or did it come from Planet X? Check out those curves, the patterns of color, its otherworldly form. Actually, it's more of a sci-fi lullaby from nature herself. A beautiful beast of sorts. Let me present to you...Sarracenia leucophylla which I've seen commonly referred to as the White Pitcher Plant or Crimson Pitcher Plant. Nature has created a plant that is as beguilingly beautiful as it is diabolical by design. Sarracenia leucophylla is a carnivorous plant. It produces strangely wonderful modified leaves that are tall, narrow, and hypnotizing.
These leaves take on the form of lidded slender pitchers that start green at their base and fade to frosty white portals of peril filigreed with rich veins the color of a nice chianti. It's these colorful portals that entice insects to sample the pitcher's sweet nectar both on the rim and inside the leaf. Once inside, the insects find it difficult to find their way out and in turn fall deep to their doom landing in a mysterious pool of plant liquid only to be dissolved. The nutrients from the dissolved insects are what feeds Sarracenia leucophylla. Now as diabolical as this process seems, without it, these plants would not grow to produce their amazing kaleidoscopic foliage and their superstylin' spacecraft-like flowers.
Every time I see these flowers live and in concert, I'm blown away by how supernatural they are. They look like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Avatar. Cool looking is an understatement. Sarracenia leucophylla does its growing in spring, summer, and fall. In winter, plants tend to go dormant for 2 - 4 months. New pitchers can form spring, summer, and fall. Flowering occurs in late spring.
All in all, there is not an aspect of Sarracenia leucophylla that is not amazingly cool. A few things to note about Sarracennia leucophylla...it is a bog plant. It loves constantly moist, wet conditions. It grows best in full sun, soil mixes that are mostly sphagnum moss and part sand (a ratio of 2:1 is good), fed rainwater or distilled water, and absolutely no fertilizer or meat. Yes, I said meat. Some people get the idea that feeding a carnivorous plant meat will help it grow. In fact, meat is too rich, and will kill the plant. These plants look amazingly awesome in containers with drainage holes or set up in a bog garden. Their look is almost unparalleled. So unique and dare I say chic!