Pitcher Plant

Pitcher plants can be found in bogs and fens where nutrient concentrations in the soil is low, but water and sunshine are seasonally abundant. This is a rather bold practice, as most plants need to absorb nitrogen from soil, but carnivorous plants, such as the pitcher plant, absorbs nitrogen from their prey.

In the bogs of the southeast, pitcher plants of the Sarracenia family are found trapping insects, lured in by nectar, or sometimes by the brilliant colorations of the plant. Once the insect is inside an elongated tube-like structure, resembling a water pitcher, escape would be unyielding. Deflexed bristles and the pitcher plant’s slippery walls can only hinder an insects retreat, forcing the prey downward to a waiting pool of rain water and digestive enzymes. The plant will eventually digest the prey, and therefore, receive the nutrients lacking from a bed of soil. Pitcher plants, having the ability to grow nearly 3 feet tall, will even at times attract and trap a frog or other small mammals, though by far, insects are the plant’s primary prey, which is why they are sometimes called insectivorous plants.

Pitcher plants are actually worked out with much care and detail, almost as if they were a sort of labyrinth. They’re quite decorative, some, in a sort of deep marbled maze, not like what many would expect from a plant. The pitcher plants are topped with a delicate membrane of a hood, and their nectar, used to lure prey, is rather intoxicating, often disorienting to the insect. And as a pitcher plant digests their nutrient rich meal, the foul smell of decomposing prey helps to lure more prey.

Interestingly enough, digestive fluids of the pitcher plants do not digest all creatures. Some organisms will survive and even breed within the plant’s trap. An ecological community can exist and thrive, all within the trappings of the pitcher plant, including algae, bacteria, fungi, and an intricate web of mosquito larvae, midges, protozoans, and bacteria, many of which can survive only in this unique habitat.

The species of the pitcher plants contain six different varieties. Being separated into two different families, they are from the tropical genus Nepenthes or the North American Sarracenia.

Although, pitcher plants are fascinating, and have intrigued many, it is not a good idea to collect and harvest these plants from the wild. Some carnivorous plant species have become extinct this way, and further extinction remains an ongoing threat. If you are interested in obtaining pitcher plants for yourself, you can purchase them from a nursery. And Be sure to provide the proper environment for your plants, a bog garden or indoor terrariums with plenty of sunlight and mildly acidic soil.