At one end of the spectrum is seed packets for starting your home garden. Clear at the other end lies the pitcher plant -- a species of carnivorous plant recently discovered in a mountain region of the Philippines.
First spotted by Christian missionaries in 2000, this plant is so large that it can capture insects and animals as big as rats. Its leaves form a tube, trapping an animal that gets too curious at the base.
Pitcher plants are the largest and most colorful carnivorous plants -- although you're probably more familiar with the venus fly trap, which captures insects by snapping together quickly in response to a touch or vibration against a leaf.
the pitcher plant poses no threats to people. We're simply too large to be
trapped. In fact, people -- primarily collectors -- are a larger threat to the plants.
And as it turns out, the home cultivation
of carnivorous plants isn't that far removed from the world of seed
packets, with starter plants available for everything from venus fly
traps to (smaller versions) of the pitcher plant.
There's even an International Cavernous Plant Society.
Who will give Fat City odds if we enter the pitcher plant in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest next July 4? We've already seen a bear beat a man. It's time for the plant kingdom to step up.
[Image via Flickr: richard sinyam]