Tropical Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes sp.)

Tropical pitcher plants are native to tropical regions mainly around South East Asia, with some outlying species. The plants have evolved to be carnivorous in order to survive in low-nutrient environments. 

The plant has tendrils which extend from the middle of each leaf and end in a pitcher-like trap. The traps are filled with a secretion consisting of flulid and digestive enzymes.

When an insect lands on the brightly coloured peristome (the rim of the trap), the slippery surface causes it to fall into the digestive fluid inside the pitcher. Once inside, the waxy and slick inner wall prevents it from escaping.

Eventually, the insect either dies of exhaustion or drowns. The plant’s enzymes break the prey into simple nutrients, which are absorbed by the pitcher and used for growth.

Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes x miranda depicted

© via Flickr

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