Another “hunting” method seen in carnivorous plants is the pitcher structure. This feeding method has developed in mainly two unrelated families – the family Nepenthaceae grows in the eastern tropics (Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Madagascar), while the family Sarraceniaceae grows in southeastern United States and parts of South America.
Although these families of pitcher plants are unrelated, they both grow in similar environments and resemble each other superficially. Both families secrete insect-attracting fluids along the rim of their pitchers, and have developed a slippery surface inside their traps to prevent prey from escaping. Enzymes are secreted to digest captured insects, or sometimes small rodents in larger species.
The Nepenthaceae family was one of Carl Linnaeus’ (the father of Botany) favorite species. The story goes that when he first saw a pitcher plant species, he was so excited that he named the genus Nepenthes after the drug Helen of Troy gave to lift the spirits of the nearly defeated Trojan army.