Sarraccenia purpurea var. montana - Success Story
Healthy Sarracenia purpurea var. montana at its only site in Georgia. Notice the natural seedling regeneration occurring in the foreground. These plants are healthy once again!

Sarracenia purpurea var. montana is a variety of pitcher plant found only in a few locations throughout the Appalachian mountains. Ron Determann, from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, noticed that this plant was particularly threatened because the mountain bogs that house it are being lost. For example, in Georgia this plant is only found in one small site. This site was being threatened by encroachment of woody vegetation that was expanding, in part, because of the suppression of natural fire in the area. In fact, when Ron first visited the site, only seventeen plants remained!

Since large conservation organizations like The Nature Conservancy are more interested in working at large, landscape scale sites, the International Carnivorous Plant Society was an excellent partner for Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The society has been funding Ron's work to ensure this mountain site will remain free of encroaching woody vegetation, so sunlight will be able to nourish the rare carnivorous pitcher plants.

In fact, with ICPS help, Ron has even been able to increase the size of the pitcher plant populations. He has identified parts of the forest surrounding the bog which were once, decades ago, part of the bog complex. In a multiphase approach, by clearing the trees, reintroducing Sphagnum moss and other bog plants, he helps prepare new bog habitat for the pitcher plants. All the reintroduction work is done by harvesting seed from the bog, propagating it at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and then replanting it at this site.

Determann in a young, healthy bog annex housing Sarracenia purpurea var. montana and other native, rare wetland species. Before the restoration work at this site, the woody vegetation had completely displaced the rare wetland flora. Ron Determann, standing in a recently cleared thicket in the bog complex. Notice the recently established, developing bed of green Sphagnum moss.

What was once a single site with only a few plants has been transformed into a bog complex with several clearings and several hundred plants!

©International Carnivorous Plant Society

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