Sunday, June 11

Do You Know This Phallus-Shaped Plant?

The Nepenthes mirabilis, or the common swamp pitcher-plant and tropical pitcher plant, is a carnivorous plant species. 

By far the most widespread of all Nepenthes, its range covers continental Southeast Asia and all major islands of the Malay Archipelago, stretching from China in the north to Australia in the south.

Indeed, once the pit trap is fully matured and the lid is opened, the plant becomes a bit less penile-looking. The open trap fills with water and is designed to attract insects who then fall into the water, where the plant scavenges the nutrients in the decaying bodies, as described in a 1999 review of the genus’ carnivorous behavior:

Plants of this genus utilize a passive method of attraction and entrapment to capture and digest their insect quarry. The lip of the pitcher, a ridged double edged collar called the peristome, is characterized by the presence of nectaries that attract insects to the pitcher opening. A lining of several layers of epicuticular wax on the upper region of the pitcher causes the insects to lose their footing while foraging and to slip down the steep walls of the pitcher into its base where they are trapped in a fluid.

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