Thursday, March 16, 2006

A new plant!

My wife made the mistake of asking me to go the plant store to get a plant for a gift. Well that was a mistake. Fortunately I came home with only one plant, aside from the gift. The plant is a so called carnivorous plant, Nephenthes.

Usually nurseries play up the carnivorous aspect and over charge for these plants but this plant was a steal-only $7.00. So inspite of feeling poor, having just paid my bills I plunked down my money.

Doesn't look too interesting until you examine the plant closely and see the the tips of many of the leaves have a pitcher. I had seen pitcher plants in the wild but those are ground dwelling. This guy is an epiphyte as are many orchids and at least in the wild can get pretty good size with 8" pitchers! Shhhh! Don't tell my wife! She already says that my plants attack her.

What's interesting is that these sorts of pitchers or pitfall traps seems to have evolved independently as a specialization to nitrogen poor habitats in a number of different plant families, and thus represents convergent evolution.

Other links:

International Carnivorous Plant Society

Carnivorous Plants at

Carnivorous Plants at Wayne's Word

"New" data relating to the evolution and phylogeny of some carnivorous plant families
from the ICPS site.
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