A pitcher plant refers to any carnivorous plant with leaves adapted for trapping insects. Pitcher plants use deep cavity prey-trapping mechanisms filled with liquid to trap and kill insects of all kinds. Known as ���pitfall traps,��� the pitcher plant���s leaves form a ���pitcher��� or trumpet-shaped enclosure to funnel in and drown unsuspecting prey.Continue Reading
Pitcher plants lure insects into their cavities by the sweet smells of nectar and vibrant colorations. The pitcher plant���s cavity is aligned with stiff, downward-pointing hairs that impede the plant���s prey from escaping. The pitcher or throat of the plant is a smooth, slide-like zone that sends the plant���s prey tumbling toward the liquid-filled pool at the bottom of the pitcher.
When an insect flies into the pitcher plant, it is trapped by the plant���s deflected bristles and engulfed in its liquid. The trapped insect ultimately drowns and is broken down by the pitcher plant���s enzymes and bacteria. Its prey, which typically include flying or crawling insects, are converted into a solution of peptides, amino acids and phosphates from which the pitcher plant obtains nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients.
Pitcher plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are found throughout the world. Some pitcher plants, such as American pitcher plants, resemble large rolled-up tubes, whereas other species of pitcher plants look like flowers, stems or generic leaves.Learn more about Botany