Blooming in the greenhouse: dangerous carnivores

Nepenthes maxima is a carnivorous pitcher plant. Some of its leaves develop as elaborate 'pitchers' that trap insects unlucky enough to fall in (shown on the right). Special glands are housed inside the pitcher that secrete insect-dissolving enzymes. The leaves are so spectacular that the flowers are all but ignored. Shown here are the tiny, but beautiful, male flowers (All ~140 Nepenthes species produce male and female flowers on separate plants). Go here for an interesting story about the molecular evolution of one class of insect-dissolving enzymes, the chitinases.