The Pitcher Plant scare!

It was during a walk through the wild of Shillong outskirts that I came across these plants. At first glance I was not sure what exactly it was but curiosity made me go near and check. On seeing them at close quarters I realized it was none other than Pitcher Plants that we studied so much in details in school. These plants are more of vine and these pitchers are hanging from it. There was a lid at the top of each pitcher. Inside it was filled with a liquid. Whatever I recall of my botany lectures, this liquid contains enzymes that digests food and is similar to one present in our own stomach.

Initially I was bit scared to touch the plant. Not sure of what might really happen if I do so. Considering its size I was sure of one thing, it CANNOT eat me! 😀 But what if my hand or finger gets trapped! Garnering lot of courage I touched the tip of the pitcher’s mouth with a quick movement. Nothing happens! That helped my confidence and I next touched the pitcher properly, holding it to see exactly how it looks.

The pitchers are hard and the top mouth is quite stiff, almost woody in many of the pitchers. I touched the inside wall and found it slippery. The liquid was not exactly thick but a bit sticky. It seemed more like a gel. There was the cover, like a lid which was movable. In one pitcher I found the lid closed while other I could move it to close the pitcher. Maybe when it catches the insect, this lid closes over the mouth so that it cannot escape.

I local boy was passing by and he stopped to join me and explained more about how they use these pitchers. The vines of this plant are supposed to be very strong and the locals use it for tying up things. Even the pitcher is used to cook food. They pour out the liquid and wash it properly. A special kind of steamed rice with chicken is made by filling the same in this pitcher and then heating.

Here are few photographs of the Pitcher Plant. You can click on the images to view the enlarged version.

Pitcher Plant 1 Pitcher Plant 2 Pitcher Plant 3 Pitcher Plant 4 Pitcher Plant 5 Pitcher Plant 6

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