2015 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 2nd prize

Vegetables with an Attitude

Photographer

Christian Ziegler

National Geographic Magazine/GEO

03 September, 2013

The flask-shaped pitcher plant (Nepenthes ampullaria) is unusual in that the enzymes in its digestive liquid are best suited to breaking down plant matter. The pitchers collect and digest falling leaf litter.

Carnivorous plants have evolved repeatedly in different parts of the world, always in response to super low nutrient environments. While other plants are struggling to find nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, carnivorous plants catch these themselves in ingenious ways. Until recently scientists thought they all operated in a similar way, catching bugs and digesting them. However, we are now discovering that things are much more complicated, with an amazing variety of complex plant-animal interactions.

About the photographer

Christian Ziegler

He is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine and has been widely published in other magazines such as Geo, Smithsonian, and BBC Wildlife. Christian’s aim is to hig...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
0.4
Focal length
100.0 mm
F-Stop
18.0
ISO
400
Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

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