Eastern Mojave Vegetation Interpretive sign for Darlingtonia State Wayside  


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  Darlingtonia State Wayside, Lane County. Oregon
Photograph taken 15 Sept 2009.

The Darlingtonia Preserve is located just off Highway 101, north of the town of Florence on the Southern Oregon Coast. The tiny park is centered on a peat bog that hosts an unusual concentration of the carnivorous California pitcher plant, or cobra lily - known by the botanical name Darlingtonia californica. The 18-acre preserve is the only Oregon state park dedicated to the protection of a single plant species.

The rare, strangely-shaped Darlingtonia plant is the only member of the pitcher plant family in Oregon. Visitors will discover a large colony of plants with green "cobra" hoods atop 10 to 20-inch hollow tubes that serve as the digestive tract for the cobra lily. As they mature, the hoods develop a mottled purple and red color. A hidden opening into the stalk is bordered by a large, green, moustache-shaped appendage beneath the curved hood of the leaf. Nectar on the "moustache" attracts insects to the plant, and eventually into the hood. Once inside, an insect becomes confused by the transparent areas in the hood that appear to be exits. The insect eventually falls into the lower part of the tube, and is trapped from escaping by downward-pointed hairs until it falls into a pool of water at the bottom of the stalk. Bacteria in the water decomposes insects into nitrogen that is then absorbed by the plant.

Darlingtonia californica has purple and yellow flowers that rise above the hooded stalks. The plants are found only in wet meadows and bogs that provide acid soils that are low in nitrogen.

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Date and time this page was prepared: 6/16/2024 11:56:43 AM