Tuesday, July 12, 2011

pitcher plants



on my birthday (the weekend before last), our neighbor stopped by to chat, and after just a few minutes of conversation, my parents, brother, neighbor and i all went for a drive to search for the carnivorous plants he had spotted earlier in the summer.

i'd never seen a pitcher plant before. when they were spotted along a stretch of rarely-traveled road, they were just far enough into unsafe territory that i couldn't stand too close. the ground was uneven and the wild weeds grew so high that i couldn't tell how low the ditch was. there was also poison ivy, so i took photos from the side of the road.



across the way, in a swamp-like area, we found some more. i could get closer to these, so thought i could take some close-ups and try to figure out how insects get stuck in them. they didn't seem to open and close like venus flytraps.

when i looked inside the flower, i determined that the insects were attracted to the knobby thing in the center, but got stuck in the gunky insides of the "petals". (wow, i am definitely not a botanist.) i thought this made a lot of sense, since it looked like there were a little black insect remnants inside, so i took a lot of photos of that particular part.



when i returned home, i opened our field guide to north american wildflowers, and it turns out i was really wrong.



the insects get stuck inside the pitcher-like "leaves" at the base of the plant.

i didn't really take many photos of that part. oops.

after a zillion mosquitoes showed up to wish me a happy birthday, we returned home for blueberry pie and ice cream.



it was just one little fun part of a really nice birthday, and one i didn't expect.

2 comments:

Valarie said...

When the plant is closed it looks like a tomatillo. I use them a lot to make salsa verde.

But, I think your technical jargin was right own. I would have thought you were right!

Those are neat, though. I have never heard of them before.

Tabitha said...

Wow - what an interesting plant! I've never seen one of those before - thanks for sharing:)