The pitcher plants is adapted for growth in a low nutrient environment especially one that is deficient in nitrogen. It is a form of carnivorous plant and its leaves are modified to enable it obtain nitrogen from small flying and creeping animals. To begin with, their leaves are folded to form a deep cavity known as a pitcher that acts as a trapping tool (Hammerson, 2004). The inner wall of the pitcher plants contains microscopic hairs that face downwards and these ensures that insects trapped slide to the bottom and that they do not climb out (Hammerson, 2004). In addition, the upper inner portion of their wall is waxy to prevent escape of the trapped insects. Inside the pitcher there contains fluids which are produced by glands that are found along the pitcher and the function of the fluid is to drown the trapped insects leading to their death (Hammerson, 2004). The pitcher also has a lid and this prevents rain from entering inside the pitcher as this would lead to dilution of the fluid.
This lid is formed by an outgrowth of the pitcher’s apex (Carey & Avent, 2010). In addition, the lid is colored and this attracts insects to the pitcher. The lid also contains of spaces that have no chlorophyll and these allows light to get in for photosynthesis to take place (Hammerson, 2004). Another thing that attracts insects to the pitcher plant is the sweet substances (nectar) that are produced by glands around the pitcher’s rim and these acts as attractions to the insects (Carey & Avent, 2010). At the bottom of the pitcher, there are glands that secrete digestive enzymes which include proteases and phosphatases whose function is to digest the captured insects thus releasing nutrients for absorption by the plant (Hammerson, 2004). The released minerals are then absorbed by the plant through the leaves.
What do birds & mammals have in common?
Both of them have four chambered hearts which prevents mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, they are both warm blooded, they both have a vertebral column, both have internal fertilization, and both have a closed circulatory system (Pickering, 2000).
Can carnivorous plants photosynthesize?
Yes they can just like other plants. This is because their leaves contain chlorophyll. In fact, most of their energy comes from photosynthesis (Williams, 2005).
Carey, D. & Avent, T. (2010). Sarracenia-The North American pitcher plant. Retrieved 30 May
2010 from http://www.sarraceniapitcherplant.com/
Hammerson, G. A. (2004). Connecticut wildlife: Biodiversity, natural history, and conservation.
Lebanon, NH: University press of England
Pickering, W. R. (2000). Complete biology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Williams, E. H. (2005). The nature handbook: A guide to observing the great outdoors. New
York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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