Perennial herbs, sometimes climbing. Stem simple or branched. Leaves rosulate or alternate, not stipulate, sessile; phyllodes present or absent; mature leaves transformed into large, tubular pitchers (insect traps) with a reduced blade, indument inside pitcher differentiated (see note to Heliamphora); primary veins in the pitcher parallel, secondary veins reticulate, veins in the lid reticulate. Inflorescences simple, terminal, single-flowered or racemose; bracts absent or present, then scale-like or foliaceous, sessile; bracteoles absent or present. Flowers bisexual, regular; sepals 4-6, 1-cyclic; petals absent or 5, 1-cyclic, free, strongly imbricate; stamens 10-numerous, in 1 whorl, or numerous and originating from an irregular primordial plexus, free, anthers oblong-linear, 2-locular, 4-thecate, basifixed, sometimes during anthesis reflexing from introrse to extrorse, or anthers dorsifixed, introrse and not reflexing, laterally dehiscing or dehiscing by caudal appendages; pollen 20-35 x 20-30(-46) μm, (3-)4-9-colporate, exine verruculate or minutely scrobiculate; staminodes absent; ovary superior, 3(-4)-5-locular, glabrous, pubescent or tuberculate, ovules numerous, axial, anatropous, style 1, simple, erect, shallowly lobed, 5-branched or expanded into broad umbrella-shaped disc with 5 stigmas. Fruits loculicidal capsules; seeds many, ovoid, obovoid or clavate, compressed, fimbriate or basally tailed, embryo small or relatively large, erect, embedded in (copious) endosperm, cotyledons 2, short.
E coast of the United States present, Guayana Highlands present, Guianas present, N California and adjacent Oregon present
A Neotropical family of 3 genera and 15 species;
Sarracenia L. from the E coast of the United States (8 species), the monotypic genus Darlingtonia Torr. from N California and adjacent Oregon and Heliamphora Benth. with 6 species restricted to the Guayana Highlands; in the Guianas only Heliamphora nutans Benth. is present.