Digital Dimdima
Plants
Pitcher Plant
-By Rani Iyer

If I told you that pitchers hold more than water, would you believe me? Maybe. If I told you these pitchers actually eat meat, would you believe me? No way! What if I tell you I am talking about the Pitcher plant? That might begin to make sense!
Growing in bogs, marshes, and water logged area, the pitcher plants are found in tropical and temperate regions of the world. Sarracenia purpurea, the temperate pitcher plant, is found growing in acidic bogs. The leaves of this plant are modified into hollow green pitchers! The inside of the pitcher is red with downward facing hair. The pitcher looks harmless with water at the bottom, until an insect comes visiting. The inside of the pitcher has some hairs facing downwards enabling the insect to slide down.

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The lower half of the pitcher is smooth and the poor insect slides into the watery grave! The water contains a mixture of chemicals and bacteria that dissolves the insect trapped inside. The plants absorb these fluids as food. However, not all insects are trapped. Some survive the watery grave, mate, multiply and live in the pitcher!
Nepenthes, the tropical pitcher plant, are larger plants than their temperate cousins. Nepenthes rajah, in forests of Malaysia, have pitchers that are the size of a rugby football, and can capture frogs! The insects in this case are attracted to the pitcher by the smell and color. Nepenthes plants are native to Asia, Australia, The Philippines, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra and some islands in the Pacific Rim. Protected by law in these places, they are rare, desirable, and a prized possession of people who grow them.
Until a couple of years ago, it was thought that Nepenthes was not a specialist. It was thought that they could eat just about any insect that was trapped. It all changed after Nepenthes albomarginata was discovered in the forests of Brunei. They catch thousands of termites in its slippery-walled, jug-shaped leaves filled with digestive fluid! In one minute nearly 25 termites fall into the pitcher! A preference for a single type of prey among carnivorous plants was thus recorded for the first time.
The plant achieves this by offering its own tissue, the white hairs that encircle the top of the pitcher, as a bait. Foraging termites find these hairs irresistible! Termites that stumble as they forage fall into the pitcher. Typically, plants in the canopy trap only a few dozen insects in the six-month life span of a pitcher. Most pitcher plants live high in the rainforest canopy and use markings or scent to attract winged insects to their doom. N. albomarginata lives on the gloomy forest floor, where termites are one of the few groups of animals present.
Exploiting meager resources, and thriving in harsh environments, insectivorous plants, like Drosera, remind us that in nature every challenge is an opportunity.



User's Comments                     
matt
It is cool
celena
I was at the park on the back roads
Roberta
Can you tell me what plant is used in making a pain management medication called "Serapin". I can't find anything about it except a slight reference to the Pitcher Plant. Serapin is an amazing med. Injected, it takes away back pain for months. Thanks, Roberta in New York
Jennifer
What does the pitcher plant do when it rains?
home dawg
Thanks for helping with my report
Mark
This is awesome. You really helped me with my report. I did not know how interesting this plant was. Thanks a bunch.
Shin Edwin
How to mutiple Pitcher Plant from one tree?
ashley
I needed to find out some information on this and I only had a little left to find. I came to this site and found exactly what I needed. It could use a little more elaboration on this widely range plant! over all it was o.k
emily
Thanks, this will help me soooo much with my science fair project.
daniel
This is what I have. Nepenthes Rafflesiana it's an interesting plant. I suggest that if you want more, go to nepenthes university. Type nepenthess on google. If you want to know more, contact me at leewoojin94@naver.com :-)
saira
This information is good.
m.angelina
There's a lot to learn at dimdima kids. I like the information at dimdima kids.
Sg
This website is good.
siddharth g.
Interesting!
piyush
Fabulous work.
Out of control
I need more information about were the pitcher plant lives NOW!!!!!!!!!!!
elhaam
The Pitcher plant is very very interesting and facinating but is there a better picture available? I am from Bangladesh.
shipra
hey , its ccol but not up to the mark
nishant mathu
Thank you for making me know so much. - Rani Iyer
vrinda
very intersting
ace
I need more information.
vainavi
This really helped me with my report and I found out how interesting it is.
David
I am Researching this plant. I really think its cool.
rohan.k
It was good.but I expected more I need more information about insect trapping plants.I am from India.
anushka
Its a good site on pitcher plant.
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