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Pitcher plant trap lip, SEM

Pitcher plant trap lip, SEM

C022/6266

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Credit

STEFAN DILLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEFAN DILLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pitcher plant trap lip, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Nepenthes pitcher plants are tropical carnivorous plants. The trap (or pitcher) starts as a small bud and gradually expands to form the trap, which has a specialised lip called the peristome that is a smooth and slippery surface. Scent, nectar and colour attract insects that land on the lip and fall into the liquid at the bottom of the pitcher. Trapped there, they are dissolved by digestive enzymes. This provides the plant with nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen. Pitcher plants are found in nutrient-poor habitats, such as swamps.

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