CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Sarracenia oreophila

Donald Schnell

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Sarracenia oreophila

Common Names: 
green pitcher plant, green pitcher-plant
Growth Habit: 
Subshrub, Forb/herb
CPC Number: 


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 Fish & WildLife
 Forest Service

Sarracenia oreophilaenlarge
Photographer: Donald Schnell
Image Owner: CPC's Garland of Generations

Sarracenia oreophila is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

Sarracenia oreophila

The majority of the remaining populations of Green Pitcher-plants can be found in the Coosa Valley and Plateau regions of the Cumberland Plateau in northeastern Alabama. The plants grow in acidic soils in moist upland areas and along boggy sandy streams. Following a spring flush of yellow flowers, the plants produce tall green pitchers. In late summer, when the soil dries, these pitchers will die back and be replaced by low, flat winter leaves. In order for the seeds of this species to germinate and become established they must fall on bare moist mineral soil. Though this condition is not rare in undisturbed bogs, fire suppression and habitat degradation have made such sites rare. For this reason, there is little seedling recruitment and most reproduction is asexual. At unmanaged sites, this set of conditions will result in inevitable population decline.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
North Carolina
State Range of  Sarracenia oreophila
  Wet thickets, boggy banks, wet sands on river and stream banks and shores, rich woodlands (USFWS 1994).

  Northeast Alabama, northwest Georgia, southwest North Carolina (USFWS 1994).

Number Left
  There are 35 extant natural populations of Sarracenia oreophila, 32 in northeast Alabama, 2 in southwest North Carolina, and 1 in northwest Georgia. Most of these populations are small both in size and in number of individuals (USFWS 1994). It is extirpated in Tennessee.


Global Rank:  
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Alabama S2 3/29/1985  
  Georgia S1 E 7/13/1995  
  North Carolina S1 E-SC 8/2/1991  
  Tennessee SX Extirpated 8/11/1986  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Carnivory-Sarracenia oreophila attracts insects with its sweet nectar. The insects then become trapped inside the pitchers and decompose in the water held within.
Pollination-This plant is pollinated by queen bumblebees (Folkerts 1992).
Herbivory-A number of insects feed on the pitcher plant tissue. Exyra semicrocea, a moth, is host specific on Sarracenia oreophila (Folkerts 1992).
Habitation-There are flies, wasps, and mites which live within the pitchers and feed on the semi-decomposed 'insect soup' inside (Rymal and Folkerts 1982).

  • Clearing and degrading habitat for residential, agricultural, silvicultural, and industrial purposes.
• Hydrological changes resulting from dam and impoundment construction.
• Trampling and soil disturbance by cattle.
• Collection by plant enthusiasts, botanists, and commercial dealers.
• Fire suppression.
From the USFWS Recovery Plan 1994

Current Research Summary
  • Searches for additional populations (Troup and McDaniel 1980, Dennis 1980, Hillestad 1984, Govus 1987, Allison 1993b) are ongoing (as of 1994) though these have had limited success. Most of the populations located since 1980 were discovered though conversations with landowners.
• Associated species and baseline maps (McDaniel 1986, Benjamin and Sutter 1991, Allison 1993a)
• Flower/fruit predation (Folkerts 1992)
• Transplant experiments/reestablishment efforts (McDaniel 1990, 1992, Allison 1993a,Benjamin 1991, Moore 1991) As of 1994, reintroduction efforts in Alabama have not been successful (McDaniel 1990, 1992)
• Study of genetic structure through allozyme analysis (Godt and Hamrick 1993)

Current Management Summary
  • Protection for a number of populations has been achieved through acquisition by the Nature Conservancy, or voluntary conservation agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and private landowners. The Voluntary Conservation Agreements are not long term protection but do allow the FWS to manage the populations.
• Management to reduce competition and increase light levels is being carried out by tree removal through chemical treatments and burning.
• Restoration of natural hydrological regimes is a priority.
• Genetic stock is being preserved through seed storage and plant cultivation in Alabama and North Carolina.

Research Management Needs
  The primary needs for the preservation of this species are to seek out unknown populations, secure long term protection for currently known populations, and to manage these populations to control competition and restore appropriate hydrological conditions. Further work is needed to develop site specific management plans, to track population trends and the response of the pitcher plants as well as associated flora and fauna to management, and to obtain or revise base maps and baseline data. Research on optimum fire frequency and burning season as well as pollination, germination requirements and seedling ecology would also assist in informing management decisions.

Ex Situ Needs
  Seed collection from unrepresented populations.


Books (Single Authors)

Godfrey, R.K.; Wooten, J.W. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Athens: University Georgia Press. 933p.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Niering, W.A. 1988. Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Wetland Plants and Animals of the Continental United States. In: Hook, D.D.; McKee, W.H.; Smith, H.K.; Gregory, J.; Burrell, V.G., Jr.; DeVoe, M.R.; Sojka, R.E.; Gilbert, S.; Banks, R.; Stolzy, L.H.; Brooks, C.; Matthews, T.D.; Shear, T.H., editors. The Ecology and Management of Wetlands. Timber Press. Portland, OR. p 592.

Smith, E.L. 1985. The Green Pitcher Plant. In: Di Silvestro, R. L., editor. The Audobon Wildlife Report. The National Audobon Society. New York, NY. p 532-539.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Endangered Species. Alabama Forestry Commission--Alabama's TREASURED FORESTS magazine. http://www.forestry.state.al.us/publication/Endangered_Species_Articles_Index.htm. Accessed: 2002.

(2002). NC-ES Plant profiles. [Web pages] North Carolina Ecological Services--U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services--Southeast Region 4. http://nc-es.fws.gov/plant/plant.html. Accessed: 2002.

USFWS. (1990). Endangered and Threatened Species Accounts. [Web page] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Endangered Species. http://ecos.fws.gov/servlet/TESSSpeciesQuery. Accessed: 2002.

USFWS. (2002). U.S. Plant Profiles. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Affairs. http://international.fws.gov/animals/plantpro.html. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

1988. _______ The Oreo Plant. The Nature Conservancy News. 7.

Christensen, N.L. 1976. The role of carnivory in Sarracenia flava L. with regard to specific nutrient deficiencies. Journal Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 92: 144-147.

Damman, A.W.H.; French, T.W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: A community profile. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Biodiversity Report. 85, 7.16: 100.

Dennis, W.M. 1980. Sarracenia oreophila (Kearney) Wherry in the Blue Ridge Province of northeast Georgia. Castanea. 45, 2: 101-102.

Folkerts, G.W. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist. 70: 260-267.

Godt, M.J.W.; Hamrick, J.L. 1996. Genetic structure of two endangered pitcher plants, Sarracenia jonesii and Sarracenia oreophila (Sarraceniaceae). American Journal of Botany. 83, 8: 1016-1023.

Govus, T.E. 1987. The Occurrence of Sarracenia oreophila (Kearney) Wherry in the Blue Ridge Province of Southwestern North Carolina. Castanea. 52, 4: 310-311.

Helton, C. 2000. Recovery of the Green Pitcher Plant in the Blue Ridge. Clippings Atlanta Botanical Garden. 5.

Kearney, T.J., Jr. 1900. The lower austral element in the flora of the southern Appalachian region. Science. 12, 830-842

McDaniel, S.T. 1971. The genus Sarracenia. Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. 9: 36.

Nation, F. 2001. Pitcher Plants in Alabama. Alabama’s TREASURED Forests. 28-29.

Rymal, D.E.; Folkerts, G.W. 1992. Insects associated with pitcher plants (Sarracenia:Sarraceniaceae) and their relationship to pitcher plant conservation: a review. Journal of Alabama Academy of Science. 53: 131-151.

USFWS. 1976. Proposed Endangered Status for 1700 U.S. Plants. Federal Register. 41: 24523-24572.

USFWS. 1979. Extension of the Effective Data of the Rule Designating Sarracenia oreophila as an Endangered Species. Federal Register. 44, 208: 61351.

USFWS. 1979. Rulemaking Actions: Green pitcher plant endangered. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 4, 10: 9-10.

USFWS. 1980. Listing of Sarracenia oreophila, Green Pitcher Plant; Report of Public Meeting in Alabama. Federal Register. 45, 58: 18929-18930.

USFWS. 1980. Regional Briefs--Region 1 & 4. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 5, 3: 2.

USFWS. 1981. Service comments on proposals to amend appendices. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 6, 1: 8.

USFWS. 1982. Regional Briefs--Region 4. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 7, 12: 2.

USFWS. 1983. Habitat Description Notice on Green Pitcher Plant. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 8, 9: 4, 8.

USFWS. 1984. Regional Briefs. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 9, 7: 2, 6.

USFWS. 1984. Regional Briefs--Region 4. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 9, 5: 10.


1995. 1995 Annual report on taxa in the national collection for North Carolina Botanical Garden. Annual report to the Center for Plant Conservation. p.1.

Allison, J.R. 1993. Monitoring project for Sarracenia oreophila (green pitcher plant) on the Shook property, Towns County, Georgia, 1991-1992. Unpublished report. p.17.

Allison, J.R. 1993. Searches for Sarracenia oreophila in northern Georgia during 1991. Jackson, MS: Unpublished report. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.6 + appendices.

Benjamin, S. 1992. Data summary and analysis for Sarracenia oreophila, Eller Preserve (1990 - 1992) and Mull Preserve (1991 - 1992). Chapel Hill, N.C.: The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office. Unpublished.

Benjamin, S.E. 1991. Element Stewardship Abstract Update (Draft) for Sarracenia oreophila. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office. p.6.

Benjamin, S.E.; Sutter, R.D. 1991. Monitoring plan for the green pitcher plant in North Carolina and Georgia. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office. p.Unpublished report. 8 + attachments.

Bertram, K.; Myers, R. 1988. Element stewardship abstract for Sarracenia oreophila. Tallahassee, Florida: Southeast Region Fire Ecology Program. Tall Timbers Research Station. Unpublished.

Folkerts, G.W. 1992. Identifications and measurement of damage caused by flower and seed predators associated with Sarracenia oreophila and recommended management/control measures deemed appropriate. Unpublished report. p.41 + attachments.

Hillestad, H.O. 1984. Survey for extant populations of Sarracenia oreophila in the Blue Ridge Province. Atlanta, GA: Unpublished manuscript for Georgia Department of Natural Resources. p.4.

Humphrey, L.D. 1987. Final report on recovery efforts for Sarracenia oreophila (green pitcher plant). Social Circle, Georgia: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Game and Fish Division.

McDaniel, S.T. 1986. Baseline studies of the green pitcher plant (Sarracenia oreophila), including addociated species lists. Unpublished report. p.4 + attachments.

McDaniel, S.T. 1990. Transplant studies of the green pitcher plant (Sarracenia oreophila). Unpublished report. p.3.

McDaniel, S.T. 1992. Preliminary report on monitoring studies of the green pitcher plant. Unpublished report. p.2 + attachments.

Moore, M.O. 1991. Report on reestablishment of green pitcher plants in Alabama. Unpublished report. p.2.

Troup, R.L.; McDaniel, S. 1980. Current status report on Sarracenia oreophila. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.62. Unpublished.

USFWS. 1982. Recovery plan for the green pitcher-plant. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

USFWS. 1994. Green Pitcher Plant Recovery Plan. Jackson, Mississippi: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.23.


Arnold, Alison. 1989. Propagation of Sarracenia oreophila (Kearney) Wherry by seeds, leaf cuttings, and tissue culture. [M.S. Thesis]: University of Georgia. 88p.

  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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