This plant (Sarracenia psittacina) is the smallest of our more common pitcher plants but its dark red buds and flowers show up along the roadsides. It blooms later than the rose pitcher plant and the yellow trumpet pitcher plant. Its leaves lie close to the ground and at the end they curve around into a shape similar to a parrot’s beak, hence its common name.
The leaves can be dark red, and the small opening to the pitcher is tucked in under the beak.
The nectar along the opening attracts ants and other very small insects. Once they enter the opening, there are downward hairs on the inside of the leaf that make it very difficult to climb back out.
The flowers are one to two inches wide and bloom on a stem that is up to ten inches tall. Prior to opening they look like a dark red ball, and when open, all of the parts are usually this same rich color.
These are protected plants and are considered threatened in Florida; if they are dug up (which is against the law in the national forest), they will likely die because they need a very special habitat in order to live.
Eleanor Dietrich, Florida Wildflower Foundation