The world is a mysterious place with a lot of unknown things. This series is to undiscover some of such unknown plants. This time let us put some light on ‘Tropical Pitcher Plants – Nepenthes species’!
What is it? Monkeys have been spotted drinking from it. Rats have been spotted partially digested in it, and some other stuff too. About 150 species are known, mostly from the forests of Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines.
The diet of a tropical pitcher plant includes just about anything that can fit into its pouch of sticky sap, including lizards, termites, spiders, and worms, though it seems to prefer smaller insects. The individual species have complex relationships with their ecosystems. One has evolved to host colonies of carpenter ants to clean up the leftovers from the larger carcasses, which if left lying around in the plant would lead to putrid conditions (we wouldn’t want that). Some Nepenthes have evolved into toilet bowls for tree shrews, providing a shrew-sized perch and sweet exudate to attract shrews while they do their business. These plants get the bulk of their nitrogen from the tree-shrew dung they collect. Now that is something right?
Hope you enjoyed reading this. Next time we will meet you with yet again a different plant! Till then happy farming! Thank you!