The Trapping Mechanism in Pitcher Plants

Views: 12553 | Last Update: 2008-07-10
The trapping mechanism in pitcher plants is interesting, learn how to care for the North American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) in this free video. View Video Transcript

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Wes Major

Video Transcript

Hi! My name is Wes on behalf of and in this video segment I am just going to describe to you how the trapping mechanism of the pitcher plant works. If you want to know more about carnivorous plants, you can visit us at So the way the trapping mechanism works with the sarracenia’s is actually very interesting. It is not quite as active as the Venus fly trap or some other carnivorous plant species. It is more of a passive process. So inside of the sarracenia they have a sweet area of sweet nectar right inside the trap that attracts the insect, usually crawling insects like ants but sometimes flying insects. When the insect comes to this area to feed off of the nectar, they then slip on the surface of the inside of the pitcher plant and fall down into the tube which is full of digestive enzymes liquid and then they are slowly digested over several days or weeks. Actually if we look inside of this sarracenia, we can see some of its digestive prey. It actually has got a few bugs in there and even a butterfly. A slightly different trapping mechanism that is used by the sarracenia is this one right here; the sarracenia minor. This has a more hooked lid trapped as we can see as opposed to the other sarracenia we just took a look at. Some biologists believe that it is used more for capturing flying insects. One interesting thing about the sarracenia minor is these white spots and again, some biologists speculate that flying insects come inside the plant and believe that these white spots are windows. They try to fly out hitting themselves against the sides of the trap and in doing this, they knock themselves out and they fall down into the base of the plant where they are again digested.