19 October 2008

Plethora of Pitcher Plants

The trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden produced a refreshing shot of enthusiasm for gardening. At this time of year when the summer plants and newness of annual gardening begin to fade, it becomes more difficult to tend my own gardens. The sights of new exciting flora (many of which will never grow here) give a boost to the gardener's soul.

This week, mostly photos of the plants in the greenhouses are presented. Especially interesting were the tropical carnivorous pitcher (nepenthes) plants. According to the sign at the greenhouses, the Nepenthes plants "produce nectar, attracting insects and luring them to a watery death at the bottom of the pitcher." You Tube has an impressive video snippet from the BBC's Private Life of Plants that includes time lapse development of the pitchers.

Greenhouse plants include a giant staghorn fern (platycerium bifurcatum), giant tree ferns, plants with roots several stories high. There was a small beauty that gives new meaning to 'butterfly bush, ' with a flower so closely resembling a butterfly that it even fools human eyes.

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Further Reading
  • American Botanical Society
  • The International Carnivorous Plant Society


Northern Shade said...
I especially enjoy the environment inside a tropical greenhouse as the weather starts to cool outside. The moist warm air and concentrated scents are escapism.
The pitcher plants are fascinating. It's amazing how many adaptations have developed for survival.