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Genus of the Week

Week of March 15-21

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Magnoliidae
Order: Sarraceniales
Family: Sarraceniaceae
Number of Species: 6, not including cultivars
Root: From the Greek "helos", meaning marsh, and "amphora", meaning urn. (a reference to the pitcher-shaped leaves). Some confusion has arisen over the etymology, due to the fact that the Greek root can also be interpreted as being "helios", which translates to "sun". I cannot find an official reference for this, so I am relying solely on what I can glean from the Oxford English Dictionary and the advice of several helpful web surfers.

Plants in the genus Heliamphora are commonly known as "Pitcher Plants", and are in the same family as the other known Pitcher Plant genera, Sarracenia and Darlingtonia. All species in these genera are carnivorous, trapping insects and other small creatures inside fluid-filled "pitchers" which are actually modified leaves. Several species of Heliamphora are grown as ornamentals, and while they can be cultivated, they are unfortunately prone to collection in the wild, as are all "carnivorous" plants.

Here are some links to images and information for the genus Heliamphora:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.

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