Little Wonders Series’ Fifth Episode

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

The Carnivorous Pitcher Plant
Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
Subkingdom: Embryophyta
Division: Tracheophyta (Vascular Plants)
Subdivision: Spermatophyta (Seed Plants)
Class: Angiosperms (Flowering Plants)
Subclass: Monocotyledons (Monocots)
Families: Nepenthaceae and Sarraceniaceae

There’s more to this Pitcher Plant’s leaf than meets the eye. The deeply folded leaf that resembles to a pitcher stores a sweet-smelling juice can actually lure insects into its mouth. When an unwary insect goes into the pitcher to sip the liquid, the inevitable happens: It can no longer go out because it just flailed helplessly in the fluid. Just like animals with canines, the pitcher plant minces the poor thing through the juice in it. This liquid is no ordinary nectar; it contains chemicals similar to bile that aids in its slow mincing of the prey until it completely dissolves. The poor insect then becomes a part of the very juice it tried to drink.

Another unusual thing is that it actually took millions of years before these simple, harmless leaves became carnivorous. Nature itself favored the growth of leaves with larger dents until it became like the thing you see in the photo. The plant evolved because it has found that eating small insects could give its body the necessary proteins, nitrogen, and other minerals that it couldn’t easily suck from the soil.

You might be thinking that when it’s raining, the leaves might get choked from taking too much rain water. Well, according to what I read, the plant can readily defend himself from this possible danger through the use of its operculum — the lid that is positioned right on top of each of these pitcher-like structures. Operculum acts like an umbrella to prevent too much water from penetrating into the pitcher when it’s raining.

For more unusual information about this plant, visit this site: www.carnivorous plants.com.

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45 thoughts on “Little Wonders Series’ Fifth Episode

  1. Beautiful exciting images and a narrative post that breathes adventure. Bro, you always give a post that inspires our childhood imagination. Fun, colorful, thrilling. Thank you for that. Wishing you and your family the best…

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  2. Ironically I, too, have written about a similar plant; the Lady’s Slipper orchid. I grow orchids for a hobby. I took my photo at an orchid sale – where I should not have been purchasing; I have 45 orchids. I think your image showcases the orchid in it’s natural environment which would be so exciting for me if I could ever photograph one in nature. Your description is very good. A lot of details covered. Well done ….
    Isadora ~~~ : – )

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  3. Pingback: Born This Way: Weekly Photo Challenge (Unusual) « aNTibaKTeRiYeL

  4. wonderful post. I still remember studying about this Pitcher Plant during my school days. The description you gave was similar to what i read at that time. But I never imagined that I could see this plants real photo any day. If I remember it correctly, then this one is also called as “funnel plant ” due to its shape.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this one Sony. Great work.

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  5. There’s a really cool pitcher plant farm in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. It’s owned by a nice German guy who knows everything there is to know about pitcher plants. He’s more than happy to give tours and lectures to visitors. I stayed overnight at his farm and had a blast with big time pitcher plant geekfest. You should drop by at his farm if you ever find yourself in Bukidnon.

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  6. Great and inspiring writings! And yes, the photo isn’t really focused on the Pitcher Plant, but I like it. It has some spontaneity and excitement about it – and offers a different view than the usual literal one.

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