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Convergent Insect Eaters: Pitcher Plants


Convergent Insect Eaters: Pitcher Plants

Old-World Pitcher Plant






Plants that digest insects have evolved independently in several distantly related lineages, apparently as an adaptation to low-nitrogen soils.


The production of “pitchers” — tubular leaves that insects have a hard time escaping — occurs in several plant groups that until recently were thought to be closely related.












Venus Fly-Trap and Cape Sundew


Now there is compelling evidence that they are quite separate — the pitcher plants of the New World (Sarraceniaceae) are closer to blueberries and kiwi fruits, while those of the Old World (Nepenthaceae) are related to other insectivores (the Venus fly-trap and the sundews), and in turn to knotweeds and carnations.


Pitcher plants and relatives


New-World Pitcher Plant



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