Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Foliage

This was a very busy weekend, it being the day selected to celebrate the annual making of the fish soup.  The ingredients for the entire feast are a bit wide spread so it took some time to locate and purchase everything.  Somehow in the middle of this TPP had not time for blogging, but as a special treat, TPP will use some images sent along from his old friend Dr. Chips.  The images show a large species (no idea which one, it could be one of several or even a hybrid) of the tropical pitcher plant in the genus Nepenthes (neh-pin-theez).  It is a carnivorous plant that uses a pitfall type of trap and then digests drowned prey for the nutrients thus released, primarily nitrogen.  The trap may emit an odor or use a colorful attractant, in this case a nice glossy red rim that might promise a reward within, but the slick footing within and downward pointing hairs prevent escape, and the trap is partially filled with water, so eventually the prey falls in.  Dr. Chips thought that this red rim should qualify these modified leaves for mention in FFF and as is usually the case, he is correct.  Interestingly in the middle image you can observe the tendril like tips of young leaves; the very tip will grow into a new trap.  The curly cue helps orient the trap to hang in an upright orientation.  Quite fascinating bit of tubular development.  So thanks, Dr. C!

1 comment:

Katherine Wagner-Reiss said...

That really is a gorgeous red rim! And, so interesting that those delicate new leaves will become new traps.
Thanks for all this good info and for sharing those photos.