Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants have two names. The most commonly known is pitcher plant. It is also called monkey cup. I think this is a funny name. The pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that is a member of the monotypic family. There are roughly 117 species of pitcher plants. These plants are most commonly found in Southern China, Indo-China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. A few species occur in madagascar (2 species), the Seychelles (1), Australia (3), New Caledonia (1), India (1), and Sri Lanka (1).



The highest diversity of pitcher plants occurs in Borneo and Sumatra. The name monkey cup is given because monkeys have been seen drinking the water from these plants.



In borneo, there are three species of Nepenthes ( which is a kind of pitcher plant ) of these 15 are found in Sabah. A pitcher plant has a sallow root system and a climbing, this is usually one cm or less in diameter. At the tendril forms the pitcher, this is part of the leaf. The pitcher starts as a small bud then grows to a tube-shaped trap. The pitcher plant gets a syrupy fluid which drowns the prey. At the lower part of the plant are glands which take the nutrients out of the prey. The upper part of the trap is slippery so prey prey can not escape. Pitcher plants are very colorful, this and lots of different smells attract prey. The lid in many species keeps the rain from messing up the fluid in the pitcher.



Pitcher plants make two kinds of pitchers. The big ones that sit on the ground. And the small ones that hang in the air. These will attract different kinds of prey. Pray is usually bugs. But the big pitcher plants get vertebrates like rats and lizards sometimes.



I got interested in these plants in Sandakan Malaysia when when we went to a rainforest park. Earlier that day mom said, “Ok I need you to right a essay on a plant or an animal.” When we got to the rainforest park I saw the pitcher plants and decided that was what I would write about.

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