The plant that eats meat

Millions of years ago, some photosynthetic plants evolved the ability to eat meat. One of these is the Pitcher Plant.

Pitcher Plants grow in places with nutrient-deficient soils. To survive, these plants evolved special mechanisms that allow them to attract, capture, and digest insects. By adding insects to their menu, the plants obtain the necessary nitrogen and phosphorous they need to grow.

There are more than 100 species of Pitcher Plants. They are found mostly in south-east Asia, Australia and India.

Pitcher plant
Fly for breakfast

The photos (taken not in south-east Asia but in Leuven Botanical Garden, Belgium) clearly show the three main parts to a Pitcher Plant:

  • The lid that keeps out rainwater to ensure that the plant’s digestive liquid doesn’t get diluted. 
  • The rim that is shiny and slippery, causing insects to fall into …
  • The cup or pitcher that is filled with a sticky digestive fluid that breaks down prey. It often has an odour that flies find irresistible!

The fly and the ant in the photos seem quite oblivious to the fate that lies in wait for them.

Pitcher plant
Ant for lunch

Submitted to Cee’s Flower of the Day photo challenge.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s