John L's Carnivorous Plant Photos

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The photos on these pages were taken during and after the research phase of my masters thesis, and some are about 30 years old. I haven't kept any carnivorous plants around the lab for many years. They are a lot more fun and instructive out in the wild!

Click here to go to the Pitcher Plant Project "Index" Page.



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The Venus Flytrap – Dionaea muscipula

1 – A laboratory specimen whose traps have grown quite large.
2 – Another lab plant with an anomalous "double trap."
3 – The interesting flower whose petals appear to "roll out" in the blooming process.


The Northern Pitcher Plant – Sarracenia purpurea purpurea
photographed in northern (#4, 15) and southern (#5-7, 9, 13-14) Wisconsin

4 – A typical view of the plant in early June – in full bloom with the pitcher leaves nestled in the Sphagnummoss.
5 – A plant in March having been covered by the winter snow and appearing lifeless.
6 – The same plant in May having apparently revived. The over-wintering leaves are soon crowded under the new leaves which arise by early summer.
7 – Leaves on a plant in various stages of development.
8 – A split-open leaf with the remains of several dead little frogs stuck on the inside surface. Water from the leaf is red due to a very high number of the purple non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris. This species of the pitcher plant genus Sarraceniais efficient in catching rain. The aqueous environment of the leaf can be an ideal culture medium for the growth of proteolytic, chitinolytic and various other opportunistic bacteria.
9 – Looking straight down into the pitcher leaf. Barely visible is a dead frog floating on the surface of the water. On its leg is a maggot participating in the digestive process.
10 – Microscopic view of larva of Wyeomyia smithii– a harmless species of mosquito which deposits its eggs in the pitchers of S. purpurea.
11 – A newly-formed adult mosquito having completed development in a leaf water sample held at room temperature.
12 – A sample of pitcher water showing undigested insect parts and other debris.
13 – The base of the pitcher cavity with accumulation of undigestable material.
14 – The flower with its characteristic droopy red petals.
15 – Another view of flowers, this time in the bright sun.

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Page last modified on 1/14/02 at 7:45 PM, CST.
John Lindquist, Department of Bacteriology,
University of Wisconsin – Madison