Project Description

Sarracenia ‘Alucard’

“Sarracenia ‘Alucard’ is a pitcher plant cultivar of mighty proportions and fantastic color!” you might exclaim, and… you’d be kind-of… wrong. S. ‘Alucard’ is, in fact, of mighty proportions and fantastic color. However, the name ‘Alucard’ is not a cultivar, but rather a grex name. Where it gets a little tricky, is when we start discussing S. ‘Prince of Darkness’ which is an as-of-yet officially registered cultivar within the grex of  S. ‘Alucard.’ The rabbit hole is deep.

Quick refresher for you – a plant falls within a grex simply if it shares the same parents with the other plants within that grex and reasonably resembles the originally described plant. So, any tall, dark, and deadly pitcher plant made by pollinating a Sarracenia flava var. rubicorpora with S. ‘Royal Ruby’ (itself a S. moorei cultivar) is a S. ‘Alucard.’ They do not have to be plants that are genetically or phenotypically identical to the original to be considered part of the grex.

Cultivar status is more strict than that of a grex. A cultivar has to cary the exact same traits as the originally-described plant, normally only possible through vegetative propagation (via cuttings/divisions and not sexually through flowers). Dividing a Sarracenia rhizome results in a genetic clone of the parent plant which is the most accepted way to produce offspring capable of bearing the cultivar title. All plants carrying the S. ‘Prince of Darkness’ name are therefore identical because they can all be traced back to a single plant from which they were vegetatively propagated.

I think the general confusion on this particular grex vs. cultivar issue stems from the grex name, itself. ‘Alucard’ isn’t all Latin-ie like moorei or readii or mitchelliana, so folks assume it must be a cultivar name. 🤷‍♂️

Still with me? Ok, below is a description of the Sarracenia ‘Alucard’ grex as described by Travis H. Wyman on December 2nd, 2008, and published in volume 38 of the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter.

Sarracenia ‘Alucard’ is a complex hybrid of S. flava var. rubricorpora × S. ‘Royal Ruby’, and was produced by Phil Faulisi. This cross was made in May of 2000 and the subsequent seed sown January 2001. Numerous offspring of this cross display the same character and traits described herein.

Unique biology of Sarracenia ‘Alucard’

Pitcher characteristics

In structure, the pitchers are similar to those of S. flava though the hoods tend to display a slight degree of ruffling alluding to the presence of S. leucophylla genes in the mix. Pitchers average 76 cm (30 inches) in height but can grow to 94 cm (37 inches) tall.

Under extremely high light and, most notably, under very bright greenhouse polycarbonate, the pitchers will turn a near complete deep reddish-black over their entirety. The hoods of some pitchers will occasionally show slight green patches, but this is not consistent within or between plants with some plants displaying many green-patched hoods one season and, few the next, while others will produce pitchers with the same lid type season after season and then suddenly revert to the opposite type. As the pitchers age, most turn a complete velvety black, very similar to the colour of cultivated “black” calla lilies.

The first photo, above, is the S. ‘Alucard’ cultivar ‘Prince of Darkness’ with a cameo by Phil Faulisi’s hand for scale.

Other notable characteristics

The flowers are yellow. Vegetative reproduction of these plants is recommended and preferred, however any offspring resulting from the crossing of a heavily red S. flava var. rubricorpora pollinated by S. ‘Royal Ruby’ that display the same black pitchers would also be considered to be S. ‘Alucard’.

The name Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards and was chosen because the appearance of this plant gives the impression of a dark ominous presence hovering over other accompanying pitcher plants when grown communally in bogs/grouped pots. The name was selected May 2004.

Fun fact: Sarracenia ‘Alucard’ is probably David’s (your humble Carnivorous Plant Resource manager) all-time favorite plant. Of all plants. Ever. His Alucard produces one glorious pitcher per growth point per season. But honestly, that’s all it needs because it’s so. dang. good.

Other Sarracenia species & hybrids

2019-12-15T17:51:32-08:00

Sarracenia leucophylla var. alba ‘Hurricane Creek White’

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2020-04-18T14:51:14-07:00

Sarracenia flava var. rugelii

Known as the cutthroat pitcher plant due to the distinct blood red throat blotch. The coloration and high density of nectar glands at this location on the pitcher act as a lure for hungry insects. It's no coincidence that the blotch is located right above the plant's mouth.