Coastal Plain Bog - Northern Pitcher Plant
Coastal Plain Bog, Anne Arundel County
Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea
Photograph by R.H. Wiegand
Coastal Plain Bogs are rare wetland habitats with sphagnum moss, wildflowers, cranberry and other heath shrubs, and insect-eating plants. The bogs of Maryland’s Coastal Plain form when a mat of vegetation, especially sphagnum moss, develops on the edge of a still or slow-moving body of water and eventually grows over the surface of the water.†These acidic, nutrient-poor habitats are unsuitable for many wetland plant species, but favor a few unusual, specially adapted plants.
Years of fire suppression, forest clearing, and the draining and filling of wetlands for agriculture and development have destroyed most of Maryland’s Coastal Plain bogs. The fragile and unique characteristics of Maryland’s bogs make the remaining few the last stronghold for many rare species.
A few bog plants have evolved adaptations to supplement the low nutrient conditions of the bog by trapping and digesting insects.†The State Threatened Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea, shown bottom center of photo, traps insects inside its vase-shaped leaves.
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