Scape. - Naked, one-flowered, about one foot high. Leaves. - Pitcher-shaped, broadly winged, hooded. Flower. - Red-purple, large, nodding. Calyx. - Of five colored sepals, with three bractlets at the base. Corolla. - Of five fiddle-shaped petals which are arched over the greenish-yellow style. Stamens. - Numerous. Pistil. - One, with a short style which expands at the summit into a petal-like umbrella-shaped body, with five small hooked stigmas.
The large nodding flower of the pitcher-plant may be found during June in the peat-bogs of New England as well as farther south and west. It is less familiar to most people than the curious pitcher-like leaves, which are usually partially filled with water and drowned insects; part of their inner surface being covered with a sugary exudation, below which, for a space, they are highly polished, while on the lower portion grow the stiff bristles which point downward. Insects attracted by the sugary secretion find themselves prisoners, as they can seldom fight their way through the opposing bristles, neither can they usually escape by such a perpendicular flight as would be necessary from the form of the cavity. The decomposed bodies of these unfortunates are supposed to contribute to the nourishment of the plant, as it is hardly probable that this elaborate contrivance answers no special purpose.