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Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant


Debbie Folkerts (Co-Chair): Auburn University Department of Biological Sciences
Patrick Thompson (Co-Chair): Auburn University Davis Arboretum
Chuck Byrd The Nature Conservancy
Ron Determann: Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Scott Wiggers: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Rebecca Godwin: Auburn University Department of Biological Sciences

Project Rationale: The Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia rubra subsp. alabamensis, is a carnivorous plant that is endemic to central Alabama and known from fewer than 15 sites. This species has significantly declined due to modern forestry practices, fire suppression, and agriculture practices. Historically the plant occurred along seepage slopes and stream margins in open fire-maintained longleaf pine uplands. Most of the currently known sites occur in Autauga and Chilton Counties on private property. Large healthy populations exist at fewer than 5 sites.

This committee’s work is to support and continue years of effort by several institutions that have already had major benefits for the conservation of what is left of this unique plant. There have been decades of scouting for additional populations, land purchases for the conservation of existing populations, extensive ex situ safeguarding efforts by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, communication with and education of private landowners,

focused management including prescribed fire, and even augmentation of secured populations.

Short-term Goals:

1. Facilitate management of existing populations wherever possible

2. Expand ex situ safeguarding efforts

3. Increase frequency and accuracy in monitoring success of outplantings

Long-term Goals:

1. Support efforts to manage and monitor existing populations

2. Maintain safeguarding populations

3. Propagate seedlings for population augmentation when possible

4. Meet recovery criteria for downlisting or delisting under the Federal Endangered Species Act


1. Safeguarding proposal written by committee members approved by APCA (2009)

2. Cleared competing woody vegetation and out-planted approximately 50 plants at Camp Tukabatchee Boy Scout Camp in Autauga County (2010)

3. Discovery of plants from an extirpated population being maintained by a private citizen that have since been propagated from seed and are now being safeguarded by AU Davis Arboretum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens(2013)

4. Development of ex situ safeguarding sites at gardens within AL (2015)

seedlings mature plants

Seedlings (left) and mature plants (right) in the new nature trail population

S. alabamensis site canebrake cooler

Last Updated: 03/08/2017