Sarracenia x Judith Hindle CP Hybrid

Carnivorous Plant Hybrids

Carnivorous Plant Hybrids

Hybrids are crosses between two different species.  For example Sarracenia purpurea x Sarracenia flava creates the hybrid Sarracenia catesbaei, common name: Cate's Pitcher Plant.  Crosses can occur naturally or artificially, by selecting desired characteristics. Some hybrids are more rigorous and faster growers than either of their parents.  This is known as hybrid vigor.  For example: S. catesbaei. Some hybrids show intermediate parental traits, which may or may not be structurally functional.  Example: S. psittacina crosses generally produce traps that are ineffective.

Some crosses are considered "simple", such as species x species.  Some are considered "complex" such as hybrid x species or hybrid x hybrid.

Hybrids blend parental genetic for characteristics equally, but some are dominant over others.  For example: red trumps any color, or leucophylla is a high suit.

Cultivar is a plant that is purposely selected for its traits, or a cultivated variety = cultivar.  For example: S. psittacina (for its tolerance and low habit) x S. leucophylla (or its color and windows) = S. x Scarlet Belle (for its tolerance and low habit combined with beautiful color and structure creating a plant of interest).

Variety = var. is naturally occurring, and sometimes considered to be a subspecies of the plant.  For example: Sarracenia purpurea venosa-Burkei.

Cultivars are registered like trademarks with property ownership. They are typically more expensive to offer for sale.

Cultivars can only be cloned to maintain their specific genetic characteristics, they will not breed true from seed.  So for example, it is not possible to provide seeds of Venus Flytrap B52 or any other cultivar and expect the seeds to produce more B52 or other cultivar. Seeds are the result of the genetic mix of neighboring plants during pollination. Seedings will show a genetic variation among themselves, some with more or less of the desired traits, some with new and exciting possibilities for further cultivation.

Hybridization of cultivars was very popular in Victorian Europe when far reaching expeditions were bringing back an incredible array of nature, and botany in our interest case. There was a high interest in breeding cultivars both scientifically and horticulturally. After Charles Darwin's popularization of carnivorous plants, they became the subject of intense horticulturalization.  Sarracenia soon were vast in cultivars because of its genetic ability to be interspecies and self fertile. Nurseries such as Vietch Nursery in Holland developed such cultivars as Sarracenia x courtii.

Note: Clones are not the same as cultivars, though many cultivars are cloned.  A clone is genetical identical to the parents. Hybrids mix genetics.


Sarracenia. Sarracenia are all able to cross with each other, creating an endless number of hybrids. Many(+/-18) are natural, some are cultivated.  Sarracenia flava x Sarracenia purpurea creates the hybrid Sarracenia x catesbaei, common name: Cate's Pitcher Plant. Early botanical names given to Sarracenia cultivars to reflect their parentage include: S. x moorei (S. flava x S. leucophylla) know as Moore's Pitcher plant, named after David Moore, a great English botanist from the 1800s. Others naturally occurring hybrids include:

S. alata x leucophylla = S. x areolata. There is a register cultivar know as "Fuschia".

S. leucophylla x minor = S. x excellens

S. leucophylla x purpurea = S. x mitchelliana

S. leucophylla x psittacina = S. x wrigleyana. There is a register cultivar know as "Scarlet Belle".

S. leucophylla x rubra = S. x redii

S. minor x purpurea = S. x swaniana

S. psittacina x S. purpurea = S. x courtii

Registering Cultivars.  A bred and selected cultivar may be submitted for registration through the International Carnivorous Plant Society. It is then published describing parentage, traits and related information. See

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