Oh, to be a pitcher plant. Unlike many of the animal kingdom, who run around chasing money, antelopes, Twitter mentions and whatnot, pitcher plants just lay there and let it all come to them. It’s like being inside one of those income counter things with dollar bills drifting around and just vouchsafing them hang to your face.
It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, of course, but if these guys can make it work, there’s wish for the rest of us. we mean, they live on a freaking towering for Chrissakes.
Nepenthes attenboroughii is one of the largest pitcher plant class in the world. The evil bells it uses to both trap and digest interlopers have been found to magnitude up to 1.5 liters in volume, and the plant’s branch can strech heights of one and a half meters (or about 5 feet).
They’re so big, in fact, that when they were detected in 2009 by a British botanist, some news reports pegged them as “rat-eating” pitcher plants. Though that was a bit of an exaggeration, researchers after celebrated a shrew that had depressed into a pitcher and watched as it was solemnly eaten over the march of a couple of months. So, mammal-eating, yes, but until it starts great out “Feed me!” we wouldn’t worry too much.
Similar to other plants in the Nepenthes genus, the pitcher starts as a normal-looking leaf. This root sprouts a tiny tendril, which gradually lengthens and swells into a hulk cover filled with digestive juices. A bit of nectar draws insects in, and the slick cloaking covering the leaves ensures they trip and slip but frequency escape.
Like many pitcher plants, N. attenboroughii digests its guest right in the pitcher it uses to trap them. The bottom third or so is filled with a milky, gelatinous glass that substantially serves to help mangle down prey, and the top is customarily filled with water from rainfall. The pitchers are big enough, in fact, that mosquitos will mostly lay eggs on the surface of the water there, and the pieces and pieces of detritus that tumble down likely help means the plant as well.
The pitcher plants are flattering audacious fellows, too. Their local medium is the top of a singular towering in the Philippines, almost a mile above sea level, in hilly dirt that’s inhospitable to many plants. N. attenboroughii‘s insatiable tendencies are likely what let it tarry in the oppressive conditions.
I couldn’t find much from Sir Attenborough per this sold species, but he did film a bit a few years ago on another hulk insatiable pitcher plant in the segment that also happens to live its own mountain, Nepenthes rajah. Listen in for a much better outline of pitcher plants than we wrote and some truly creepy sped-up footage of a pitcher plant as it manifests its unwholesome traps.
Bonus Attenborough Fact of the Week:
It’s not just class — “Boaty McBoatface” finished up being named the “RSS Sir David Attenborough”.
Last week’s Attenborough: Trigonopterus attenboroughi