Found around springheads and by cold streams in the hills of California and Oregon, the Cobra Lily has a unique appearence with it's superficial resemblance to a cobra poised to strike. Mainly flying insects are attracted to the nectar secreting glands on the tongue, which acts as a landing platform.
A trail of nectar leads in to the hooded dome of the pitcher which is covered in many false windows (fenestrations) which allow the light to enter.
Once inside, the insect quickly realises it is trapped, and tries to escape towards the light emanating through the windows.
By following the windows to the rear of the pitcher and in to the tube, the insect looses it's footing on the waxy interior surface and falls in to the tube where it drowns and is broken down by bacterial decomposition.
This plant typically attains a height of about 18 inches in cultivation, but in the wild may reach up to three feet.
The flowers are produced in the spring and consist of single flowered stems topped by a lantern shaped bloom of five red petals arranged in a whorl, surrounded by five apple green lanceolate sepals which hang down around the petals.
With sunlight behind them these peculiar flowers glow red - making a stark contrast to the glowing windows of the pitchers.