Photos and text by Jonah Holland , PR and Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
A cunning carnivore with an inescapable death trap silently waits for prey in some southeastern wetlands. Its exotic markings and distinctive beauty are enhanced by sugary secretions and sometimes enticing odors that lure unsuspecting victims to draw near. While exploring its sweet, slippery “mouth,” the inquisitive typically becomes captive, plummeting through a long, narrowing tube toward death. Downward-pointing hairs prevent escape and force the prey into a deep pit of fluid where it drowns.
Sounds supernatural doesn’t it? You may remember, this is what we wrote about our Sarracenia or pitcher plant collection last summer. Two years ago we restored the Martha and Reed West “Island Garden“ in an effort to adjust the water level in this garden and restore the ecosystem for these amazing specimens. And this year, the pitcher plant collection is looking better than ever!
The hardy native orchid known as swamp pink, pale grasspink (Calopogon pallidus) loves the changes that we made there too. These beauties will be blooming for the next few weeks, and you can enjoy the Sarrencia all summer long, but if you can’t make it in person, please enjoy these photos. They were inspired by a Garden visitor who mentioned she’d really like to see the underside of the Sarracenia bloom up close. Happy to oblige!