The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: What about field collecting Endangered Sarracenia?

Sarracenia alabamensis subsp. alabamensis
Sarracenia alabamensis
subsp. alabamensis

Sarracenia jonesii
Sarracenia jonesii

Sarracenia oreophila
Sarracenia oreophila
A: OK, what are you trying to do---drive me insane??

Look, it is very simple. You cannot collect Endangered pitcher plants in the USA. The three Sarracenia species in the USA with the federal status of "Endangered", as listed in the Endangered Species act, are:

Sarracenia oreophila
Sarracenia jonesii (aka Sarracenia rubra subsp. jonesii)
Sarracenia alabamensis subsp. alabamensis (aka Sarracenia rubra subsp. alabamensis).

You cannot field collect ANY of these. These plants are extremely rare, occurring at only 10 to 23 sites in the world! (Depending upon the species). Botanists and other scientists working for private conservation organizations, state agencies, and the federal government know all these sites, and are trying to protect them from damage. If you find these sites, it is not as if you are the only person who knows about them.

If you collect from these sites, you are poaching. POACHING. DAMMNIT! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! (breathe, barry, breathe.....)

OK, I'm a little calmer now. But really, every site for rare pitcher plants is being watched and managed. Unlike the rest of the genus, these three species are not subject to habitat destruction because of direct land development. If you really think that you have found an undiscovered, as-yet undocumented population of plants (such as S. oreophila in Tennessee), please contact me. You do not have to tell me the location of the population, but if you tell me the state I can put you in touch with appropriate staff of the US Fish & Wildlife Service or The Nature Conservancy. Their staff will be able to tell you if your plants really are "new"; such a discovery would be fabulous!

But finally, do NOT go and poach rare pitcher plants. You would be breaking a number of state and federal laws, and the penalties are not pretty. The government officials I know would just love to make an example of you. (And I would be willing to help them in any way I could.) Rare pitcher plants are already in cultivation. Furthermore, if you even happen to find these plants in the wild, you are very likely trespassing and may get buckshot in your bum any second, compliments of farmer Joe--that would be if you are lucky...if I were Farmer Joe I'd your take your LEGS OFF. Ever see "Deliverance"? You know what scene I'm talking about, don't you?? (...ok, sorry about that...I think I probably crossed a line...)

Page citations: C. Emanuel, personal communication; Rice, B.A. 2006a; US Fish & Wildlife Service, 1973; personal observation.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018