Splinter Hill Bog

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Splinter Hill Bog

Top choice in Alabama

Blankets of white-topped pitcher plants can be found here, a 2100 acre plot of land owned and protected by the non-profit Nature Conservancy. Walk into the pitcher-plant bogs (almost immediately visible once you depart the parking area) and you may notice that the clouds of midges, mosquitoes and flies so common in Southern woodlands and wetlands are mysteriously absent. That's because these insects are busily being digested by a graceful field of wildflowers.

The pitcher plant is the vegetarian's revenge: a carnivorous plant topped with a lovely, fluting champagne rim of petals. Insects are drawn into the plant's interior cavity, which is lined with a slippery surface; the bugs fall into a pocket of liquid at the flower's base and are digested until they become mere nutrients.

Besides pitcher plants, this is an area of startling diversity; in some spots scientists have found over 60 different species of plants in a square yard, which constitutes some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in North America. For more information, check out America's Amazon, a documentary on this region, which forms part of the Mobile–Tensaw Delta.