Publication in: Spring 2023 Issue

Evaluating Endangered Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia jonesii), Leaf Morphology And Flowering As Related To Soil Nutrient Status
Joseph Walston
Environmental Studies
Faculty Mentor(s):
Jake Hagedorn
Abstract / Summary:
As a federally endangered and critically imperiled carnivorous plant, there is limited information on Sarracenia jonesii. This study provides a greater understanding of how soil nutrients affect this pitcher plant's ability to grow carnivorous leaves and catch its own prey, as well as how it affects the plant's ability to flower and spread its dwindling genetic diversity. S. jonesii plants were found to have more flowers as the number of carnivorous leaves increased. The soil nutrient assessment of this population demonstrated that these carnivorous plants occupy soil that is high in nutrient content potential but low in plant-available nutrients, specifically nitrogen. Flowering and the presence of soil ammonium (NH4),, did not exhibit a relationship. The growth of non-carnivorous leaves, phyllodia, and the presence of soil NH4 did not show a relationship. A historical assessment of one of the few remaining populations of S. jonesii showed a decline in clumps but showed increased leaf and flower production. This information can be used to inform future conservation strategies to ensure plants are propagated and planted in appropriate soil conditions for ideal growth, carnivory, and reproduction.
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