Huntington>Conservatory>Cloud Forest> Tropical pitcher plants

Tropical Pitcher Plants


There are about 100 species of Tropical pitcher plants, belonging to the sole genus Nepenthes of the Napenthaceae family. The pitchers of tropical pitcher plants contain acidic digestive liquids that are important for the plant's carnivorous diet: a lid on the pitcher prevents rainwater from diluting the digestive liquids. These amazing plants can be found in the Old World tropics (South China, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.).

A tropical pitcher plant

Trapping system:

The trap of a tropical pitcher plant is a pitcher that grows at the end of a tendril from an expanded petiole that looks very much like a leaf. The true leaves are the pitchers themselves, which are digestive organs. The trapping mechanism of a tropical pitcher plant is similar to that of other pitcher plants. Their prey are usually insects but some can even catch small vertebrates.
Peristome: attractive and slippery.
Nectar producing glands: underneath the lid and inside the peristome.
Digestive and absorbing glands: at the lower portion of the pitcher.

Nepenthes are dioecious plants. Their staminate and pistilate flowers look very similar: both are tiny flowers with no petals, 4 sepals, and the central-located stamens or pistils. These tiny flowers open from bottom to top on panicles.

Back to Cloud Forest mainpage

Back to Conservatory

Copyright for the photos on this website belongs to Pu Chen. Images should not be redistributed without the permission of the photographer.