On Saturday, September 1, my wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to Summer Lake in Skagit County and to a muskeg or floating bog on the lake to see the Pitcher Plants and other carnivorous plants that have been naturalized there. I wrote in a previous post that no one seems to know when and how these plants were first put there, but several species have become well established, though it appeared to us that someone had removed them from the north end of the lake.
When we first heard of this place, we were told that there were five non-native species of carnivorous plants to be found. On our first visit we found only four, the Purple, White and Yellow Pitcher Plants and the Venus Fly Traps, We did not find the Cobra Lily and have not found it on any visit since. On this most recent visit, the White Pitcher Plant seems to have disappeared as well, but that is not a surprise since we only ever found a few of them, and fewer every year.
Sometimes it's double jeopardy for the insects, since many of the pitchers have spiders lurking around and inside of them, but escaping the spiders only means a long fall down tot he bottom of the tube, death by drowning and then digestion by the juices the plant secretes in the water. We did not see a lot of insects, though, perhaps because of the long dry spell we've experienced. Both of the following photos are attempts to take photos down the tubes of the Yellow Pitchers.
Both the Purple and Yellow Pitcher Plants were in flower, the first time we had seen the flowers of the Purple, which blooms a bit earlier than the yellow, but we were earlier this year than we usually are and were delighted to see these odd blooms. The Venus Fly Traps and the Sundews were finished flowering, but only just, and we will have to go to see them in flower some other time. The Venus Fly-traps have white flowers and the Sundews pink flowers.
It should be noted that the lake is very isolated and that there is little chance of these plants spreading to other areas. The floating bog, however, is something rare and unique with many unique native plants growing on it, and if threatened by these plants, which does not appear to be the case, should be rid of these non-natives in spite of their attractiveness. We noticed, too, that for the first time efforts are being made to protect this place, especially on the north side of the lake.