RE: Evolution of CPs

Steven Klitzing (
Wed, 7 Jun 1995 11:09:28 -0700


Just a few related questions:

Why are there no pitcher plants naturally occurring
in Africa, or are there?
Why are there no pitcher plants naturally occurring in

It seems North and South America, Australia, Southeast
Asia and India are the only areas where pitcher plants
occur naturally.

Is this assuming that the breakup of Pangea or Gondwana
occurred before these plants could spread to Africa and
Europe? And the Rise of the Himilayas and spread of middle
eastern deserts, and the Atlantic ocean opening up prevented
spreading to Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia proper?

It's interesting to note that areas that are now deserts,
were once lush grasslands and savannah that may have supported
a much greater diversity of plant life.

Has anyone figured out how the pitcher plants managed to
adapt to that form. Bob suggested that the early pitcher
plants were simply rolled leaves. That suggests that insects
became accidentally trapped in the base of the rolled leaf
and the plant eventually evolved to make used of this easy
food source. Perhaps, the leaf was something like a ping,
and had sticky hair on the inside that eventually turned into
a slick digestive surface and dispensed with its glue.
It puzzles me how these plants could evolve a carnivorous
digestive tract. How did these plants make that evolutionary

Here's another theory. Perhaps the plants we see today are
the descendants of much larger, more ferocious CPs from
prehistory. As the climate of the earth grew less warm,
and became more difficult to survive in, perhaps CPs
evolved into a much smaller form. Could early CPs have
trapped much larger prey? And, exactly how old do the
experts think CPs are?