Containing pitfall traps for drowning prey, pitcher plants are not only carnivorous but decorative as well. The pitcher plant has a variety of uses from garden decor and pest control to garnish for food and craft use. Knowing about the uses of the carnivorous, and beautiful, pitcher plant allows you the ability to make use of it in your home environment.
Nepenthes varieties of pitcher plants serve as edible garnishments to a variety of dishes. Preparing a pitcher plant to be eaten requires extensive cleaning to remove all traces of the plant's digestive fluids and food wastes. The thick, fibrous pitcher is then steamed until it is tender. Once steamed, the pitcher plant serves as an edible receptacle for cous cous, rice, mashed potatoes and even a mixture of sauteed or steamed vegetables. The steamed, stuffed nepenthes pitcher plant has a flavor reminiscent of squash or a similar vegetable.
Pitcher plants present themselves as strange-looking and beautiful plants. From the completely purple pitcher plant to the giant red nepenthes, the look of a pitcher plant sets off even the plainest garden environment. Pitcher plants vary from climbing plants to singular stem plants, making them fun to experiment with in your garden. You can plant climbing pitcher plants against an arbor or trellis to provide a base on which they can climb and bloom. Planting them near ponds or water sources in your yard keeps them thriving.
The medicinal uses of the pitcher plant, according to the Botanical website, are various and have a rich history in the United States as well as Europe. For example, Native Americans used pitcher plant extracts for treating conditions like smallpox. It has also been used by homeopaths as a laxative and a diuretic, although studies in traditional medicine haven't concluded the plant's effectiveness in medicinal applications.