Wild Macro | Natural History Fine Art Photography by Timothy Boomer

Home    |     Image Library    |     Blog    |     Purchasing    |     Contact    |     About    |     Search

Image Library > Flora > Pitcher Plant Family >

California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia californica)

The California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) is a carnivorous plant that is both native and endemic to California and Oregon. This rare plant typically grows in nutrient-poor habitats and supplements its diet through the ingestion of insects. Vibrant red nectar veins attract these ill-fated arthropods and lead them into a hidden opening in the underside of the uniquely shaped tubular leaf. The cap of the California pitcher plant has many translucent patches, which fill the interior with light and lull insects into a false sense of safety. Once inside, visitors become confused by the numerous false exits and eventually succumb to the insidious design of the trap. Slickly lubricated interior walls and downward-oriented hairs force prey into a digestive enzyme liquid at the base of the pitcher. This perennial herb is commonly referred to as the cobra lily, due to its resemblance to the iconic hooded snake. That name is misleading, however, as this member of the family Sarraceniaceae is not closely related to lilies.

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California, USA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0511
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), close-up profile view under beautifully diffused lighting. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0511

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0380
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), low-angle view clearly showing the entrance into the plant. From this vantage point, we can look up through the opening and see the translucent "false exits," which confuse insects until they eventually tire and succumb to the trap. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0380

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0379
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), low-angle portrait view clearly showing the entrance into the plant. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0379

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0378
California pitcher plants (Darlingtonia californica), first of the season. The remains of some of last year's plants can be seen in the background. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0378

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0377
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), close-up of a single flower in bloom. Scientists have not yet identified its pollinator. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0377

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0376
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), highly detailed close up of the top of the plant, revealing its translucent "skylights," which act as false exits and confuse insects until they eventually tire and succumb to the trap. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0376

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0375
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), close-up of the unique forked leaf, which has vibrant red nectar veins to help attract insects and lure them inside of the plant. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0375

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Plumas County, CA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0374
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), one of the first of the season and still not fully developed. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0374

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California. Stock Photo ID=PLA0315
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), close-up of flowers in bloom. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0315

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California. Stock Photo ID=PLA0314
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), close-up of flowers in bloom. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0314

California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).  Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California, USA. Stock Photo ID=PLA0512
California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), low-angle perspective showing the entrance into the trap of a young plant. Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, Plumas National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Plumas County, California.
PLA0512

Next Plant: Sierra penstemon (Penstemon heterodoxus var. heterodoxus)



Interested in buying a print or licensing a picture? Click on the purchasing link for more information or contact us with any questions you may have. Thanks for looking!

Back To Top

All images copyright Timothy Boomer. All rights reserved worldwide.