Infraspecific Variation in Sarracenia rubra Walt.: Some Observations


Donald E. Schnell

Additional Authors:


June – 1977


Sarracenia, rubra, pitcher plant, wherryi

The red-flowered pitcher plant <em>Sarracenia rubra</em> Walt. is widely distributed throughout the southeastern United States, occurring in small, scattered stands. In many parts of the range, populations and population groups become markedly disjunct and there is considerable morphologic variation among these disjuncts. These variants have been subject to taxonomic dispute and morphologic, geographic and some biochemical studies suggest that perhaps the taxon should best be considered as an evolutionary superspecies composed of at least five semispecies, since there is insufficient discontinuity of characters among these groups to consider any as separate species. The International Code makes no provision for the concept of semispecies, and we feel that subspecies designation would be acceptable for those variants that have already suffered taxonomic confusion. We would accept the recent new combination <em>S. rubra</em> Walt. ssp. <em>jonesii</em> (Wherry) Wherry for the populations of western Carolina, and propose reduction of one recently described set of variants from species with two subspecies, to subspecies level: <em>S. rubra</em> Walt. ssp. <em>alabamensis</em> (Case and Case) Schnell comb. nov., and <em>S. rubra</em> Walt. ssp. <em>wherryi</em> (Case and Case) Schnell comb. nov.