Newly Discovered Plant Digests Underground Bugs & Small Animals

Bridget Mulroy
An epiphytic Pitcher Plant. Contrary to the newly discovered terrestrial variety: Nepenthes pudica (Nepenthaceae.)Bridget Mulroy

Carnivorous plants are bizarre – whether you’re a plant-lover, or not!

Plants are regarded as serene and zen. Carnivorous plants are straight-up violent!

The most common carnivorous plants have to be Venus Fly Traps (Dionaea muscipula) and Pitcher plants (Nepenthes.) The species and subspecies expand significantly. Sundews, Cobra Lilies, these varieties become much funkier – and more alien-like! Plant-animal hybrids, if you will – aliens.

In a recent discovery, scientists have reported the “First record of functional underground traps in a pitcher plant: Nepenthes pudica (Nepenthaceae), a new species from North Kalimantan, Borneo,” according to Phyto Keys. The new species of Pitcher Plant goes by the name, Nepenthesis Pudica.

What sets these Pitcher Plants aside from the rest is that they have acclimated to life underground. Phyto Keys continues to specify, “The species occurs on ridgetops over sandstone rocks in lower montane rainforest. The known elevational range is 1100–1300 m a.s.l. The plants frequently grow near trees whose branched roots form cavities covered with a moss layer. Lower pitchers are then copiously produced inside these cavities. If no cavities are available, the pitchers are produced directly in soil, deep litter or under moss cushions.”

Another fun fact about this newly discovered Pitcher Plant is its terrestrial classification. Aliens!

In terms of plants, terrestrial means they grow in soil or some form of a medium. Contrary to terrestrial plants, there are epiphytic plants, meaning they grow on things and not in any medium – like some common orchids – and most other known species of Pitcher Plants!

The Botanical Society of America is one of the most informative resources on these species of plants. Generally, “Carnivorous plants have the most bizarre adaptations to low-nutrient environments. These plants obtain some nutrients by trapping and digesting various invertebrates, and occasionally even small frogs and mammals. Because insects are one of the most common prey items for most carnivorous plants, they are sometimes called insectivorous plants. It is not surprising that the most common habitat for these plants is in bogs and fens, where nutrient concentrations are low but water and sunshine seasonally abundant.”

Since these plants thrive in wetlands and bogs, protecting these areas is of the utmost ecological importance. Being that they’re plants, they’re a vital component of the planet’s ventilation system.

If wetlands continue to be developed, these plants will go extinct. Species counts of carnivorous plants have dropped drastically over the last two years, according to Science Alert.

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Hi, I’m Bridget, I’m very good at making people think. You’ve encountered my work if you have read/watched News12. NewsBreak has awarded me on publications supported by you, so THANK YOU!

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