Family

Pitcher-plant.

Colour

Crimson, green, or pink.

Odour

Fragrant.

Range

Mostly north and east.

Time of Bloom

June.

Flowers: nodding; solitary; growing on a naked scape about one foot high. Calyx: of five large, coloured sepals having three bractlets underneath. Corolla: of five incurved petals that close over the umbrella-like top of the style. Stamens: numerous. Pistil: one; branching at five angles like an umbrella, and five hooked stigmas. Leaves: the shape of pitchers, open, with an erect hood, and side wings, the margins folded together; conspicuously veined with purple.

It is only because we are ill-informed about plant-life that it ever surprises us; and to have passed beyond the brink of wonder at the actions of the pitcher-plant, argues a good amount of knowledge. It is one of the most stragetic of the insectivorous plants. The leaves have their margins united together, so as to form quaint little pitchers, closed at the bottom and open at the top. They are lined with a sticky, sugary substance that entices small insects to explore to their depths. Here the pitchers, with an absolute disregard of all Christian charity, have arranged innumerable little bristles, pointed downwards; and once entrapped the poor victim can escape in neither direction. The rain is also held by them, and serves to drown any mite that is unusually tenacious of life. We generally find them partly filled with water and drowned insects, which afford the plants an extra amount of nourishment. These leaves often remain a curious feature of swamp life until Jack Frost covers them with his white overcoat; but in the exquisite spring bloom is when the plants are most ravishing in their beauty. From a distance they appear like the mystic blending of colours in a Persian rug.

Children have a passion for the pitchers and sometimes play with them, using them as drinking cups. This is a most imprudent thing to do, as it is impossible to know with any amount of certainty that they are ever free from insects.