Pitcher Plant


Tropical Pitcher Plants or Monkey Cups are carnivorous plants which specialize on insects, although there have been reports of the plant consuming even small animals like rats! There are about 150 species of tropical pitcher plants, with one, the Nepenthes suratensis, being endemic to Surat Thani province, which is where Khao Sok National Park is located. The Greek word Nepenthe means ‘without grief’ and is said to be a poison that removes sorrow with forgetfulness. Pitcher plants are climbing plants that can reach a height of about 15 m. They have green and red leaves; some might be speckled or slightly spotted. Depending on the species the pitchers of the plants come in all kinds of shapes – from elegantly stretched ones to round ones that look like balls. Pitcher plants have two different kinds of pitchers: lower pitchers at ground level and upper pitchers above the ground. Both filled with a liquid designed to drown and dissolve prey. The edges of the pitchers are smooth and slippery and often brightly colored. There is a lid above the pitcher, which prevents rain from getting into the pitcher, possibly flooding it and helping prey to escape. Pitcher plants attract prey with their fragrant smell, bright colors and delicious

Did you know...?

… that mosquito larvae are immune to the liquid in the pitcher plant, making it possible for them to live inside the bag and feed on the pitcher plant’s prey?