Brocchinia reducta

Brocchinia reducta is one of few carnivorous bromeliads. It is native to southern Venezuela and Guyana, and is found in nutrient-poor soil.

B. reducta, like many other bromeliads, forms a water-storing cup with its tightly-overlapping leaves. The leaves surrounding the cup of B. reducta are coated with loose, waxy scales. These scales are highly reflective of ultraviolet light. Since many insects are attracted to ultraviolet (since it is reflected also by many flowers), this is an efficient lure. The water in the cup also emits a sweet odor, which may serve to attract ants and other insects.

The scales, being loose, provide a poor foothold for insects landing on them. The unfortunate creatures slip into the water-filled cup, and eventually drown.

It has been argued that B. reducta is not actually carnivorous in the sense of other such plants, because it does not produce pepsin or any other digestive proteases. However, bacteria and fungi digest the trapped insects, and the leaves are capable of absorbing the resulting nutrients.


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