Sarracenia alata has the ability to grow a complete and fully functional adult from any piece of itself as long as there is rhizome attached (totipotent).  This is one way that this plant can spread.  The new plant would have the same genetic makeup as the parent that gave rise to it.  Another way that these plants reproduce asexually is when some of the rhizome is pinched off.  This happens when some of the rhizome dies and it separates two living halves.  Both these halves can give rise to new pitcher plants as long as conditions are favorable.


The Sarracenia alata is a perennial that typically flowers through March and April.  The flowers of the pale pitcher plant are typically yellow in color and there is one flower per stalk.  Their petals hang downward as opposed to opening upward (as shown in the picture to the right).  Once the flower is formed, several insects, mostly bees as they are attracted to the color yellow, pollinate the flower.  Once pollinated the plant produces a fruit.  The fruit becomes dry at maturity and all the seeds held within are dispersed through the slits that open.  The exact form of dispersal used by the Sarracenia alata is not really know, but the best educated guess right now is that the wind disperses the seeds.

Once the seed lands in a new location it begins to germinate.  Then it grows until it reaches maturity and begins to flower and produce its own seeds.  Ironically one of the key elements that aid in the propagation of new plants also becomes ita prey.  After the insect or bee has pollinated the flower, the flower disperses its seeds and releases its fruit.  Then it begins to feed on insects once again.  The same insect that helped it reproduce could later become its dinner, what a relationship!


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