meat eating, pitcher plant

We do not normally associate plants, as carnivorous or meat eating. Wild beasts, possibly, but not plants. But, this one has evolved to do just that - digest protein. And how? Well, with an extension, of its leaf! - into a specialised organ. So this post is about the pitcher plant (nepenthes), or quite often also known as the monkey cup.


To survive, this plant has evolved repeatedly to cope with the nutrient-scarce soils in which they grows. A genetic anomaly, it appears, has allowed some plants to turn into meat eaters - by repurposing genes meant for their roots and leaves and using them instead to catch prey.


Imagine, the end of its leaf being modified into a container, that not only captures its unsuspecting prey, but digests everything thereafter.


We continue to be overawed, by what nature has shown us repeatedly. And I hope you are also enjoying much of these stories. I spotted this one in a neighbours backyard, of all places. So there!

By the way, the name "monkey cup" refers to the fact that monkeys were once thought to drink rainwater from the pitchers. This apparently is a false story, as monkeys do not drink from them, and the pitchers are filled with digestive juices, rather than rainwater.



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