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Structure and Development of the Pitchers from the Carnivorous Plant Nepenthes alata (Nepenthaceae)

T. Page Owen, Jr. and Kristen A. Lennon
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 86, No. 10 (Oct., 1999), pp. 1382-1390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656921
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Structure and Development of the Pitchers from the Carnivorous Plant Nepenthes alata (Nepenthaceae)
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Abstract

The pitchers of the tropical carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata are highly specialized organs for the attraction and capture of insects and absorption of nutrients from them. This study examined the structure and development of these pitchers, with particular focus on the nectaries and digestive glands. Immature pitchers developed at the tips of tendrils and were tightly sealed by a lid structure that opened during the end of pitcher elongation. Opened pitchers exposed a ridged peristome containing large nectaries. Like other members of the genus, a thick coating of epicuticular waxy scales covered the upper one-third of the pitcher. Scattered within this zone were cells resembling a stomatal complex with a protruding ridge. Cross sections showed that this ridge was formed by asymmetric divisions of the epidermal cells and lacked an underlying pore. The basal region of the trap had large multicellular glands that developed from single epidermal cells. These glands were closely associated with underlying vascular traces and provided a mechanism for supplying fluid to closed immature pitchers.

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