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Cephalotussidecolouredcopy

About the time that the "spring leaves" production peaks, the embryo pitchers start to appear. They start off like tiny hairy fists on the end of the stalks. As you can see from the cross-section, the stalk is attached to the rear of the pitcher - unlike Nepenthes, where it attaches at the base. These immature pitchers usually grow out beyond the rossette of leaves and come to rest on the ground, where they now grow to approaching full size.

A few days afterwards the pitcher lid opens. They have at this stage a quantity of digestive liquid in them and are capable of trapping prey.

The size of the pitchers, even on mature plants, can vary from tiny 4mm up to 6cm, but are usually about 3cm. The body of the pitcher is shaped like a small moccasin/boxing glove with a 'T' shaped rib runnning up its centre and a thin 'l' rib running up each side. These are hairy and covered with nectar glands designed to guide insects towards the mouth opening.

The mouth of the pitcher is similar to some of the Nepenthes family, in that it is adorned with an array of what appear to be sharp downward pointing teeth on the ends of prominent burgundy coloured glossy ribs. These lead down to a pale green collar which is very smooth and shiny and covered with many nectar glands. It terminates in a sharp edge which then runs back upwards to form an impossible 'get out of' situation for insect prey.

The prey then fall into the liquid that the pitcher holds, where the prey quickly drowns and is broken down by the enzymes in the liquid, the nutrients in the subsequent soup being absorbed by the brown digestive gland area near the bottom of the pitcher.

Surmounting the pitcher is the lid - this again is quite hairy and is again covered in nectar glands , as well as having what appear to be windows set into it near its rim interspaced with burgundy stripes. These windows do not appear to be there to confuse insect prey as to a way out (as with Darlingtonia Californica or Sarracenia Minor), but may be to cast light on the pool of digestive fluid, and make that more interesting to insects.

In shade the pitchers will remain green, but, in full sun they can vary from a mottled red hue through to a deep burgundy colouration. The pitchers can survive for a year or more but, after their first summer, seem to lose some nectar production around the mouth opening and look slightly dried.

Cephalotus pitcher cross section
Cephsmalloddpitcher
Cephalotus1rib

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