Tropical Pitcher Plant
Also known as monkey cups, these carnivorous plants attract, capture, kill and digest insects and small vertebrates for nutrients. The environments Nepenthes inhabit typically are incredibly nutrient-poor; carnivorous behavior allows the plants to receive the nutrients they require to grow.
Natural habitat and growing conditions:
Nepenthes are widely distributed in the Old World tropics, ranging from ultra-tropical lowlands to tropical alpine conditions, depending on the species. Cultural conditions vary depending on the exact species, but they generally require a well-drained substrate, water low in dissolved solids, and high humidity.
A different Nepenthes hybrid pitcher grown under Black Dog LED lights, without Bodhi's supervision. This pitcher is about 9 inches tall and shows the finely-ribbed and slippery "peristome" around the lip that encourages insects to fall in. The bottom of the pitcher contains fluid with digestive enzymes that break down any prey that fall in. The lid on top helps keep rainwater from washing out the plant's catch.
Notes of interest:
- Nepenthes' pitchers are modified leaves- what looks like normal leaves is actually the petiole.
- There are over 100 species of Nepenthes, many limited in range to a single mountain.
- Nepenthes are believed to have evolved more than 55 million years ago.
- Nepenthes are dioecious-- plants are either male or female, and one of each is needed to create seeds.