Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual
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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