Carnivorous Plants Website
Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness
by Makoto Honda


Nepenthes Pitcher Fluid  -  2017-September-11
An Un-Opened Nepenthes Pitcher

National Geographic Magazine, May 1964, features a CP article "Malaysia's Giant Flowers and Insect-Trapping Plants"
by Paul A. Zahl (Nationl Geographic Senior Staff).
In the article, Zahl drinks the liquid of Nepenthes sanguinea and reports "it tasted good, though warm."
with a photo of him drinking out of the pitcher.
He presumably picked a pitcher which was not fully matured and not opened yet.
This is an excellent CP article coming from none other than National Geographic,
with lots of striking photographs.

I would not recommend drinking the pitcher plant's liquid if it's already open --

First of all,
the pitcher of tropical Nepenthes forms a micro-ecosystem in which multitude of inquilines live in the liquid,
including mosquito larvae, parasites and other micro-organisms,
in order to bring the trapped prey to the digestible state for the plant.

just imagine how troublesome to clean your teeth afterwards,
using tooth floss to get rid of legs and wings and eyes of the flies and roaches stuck between your teeth.

An un-opened pitcher is a different story.
Nepenthes pitchers already contain some amount of liquid before the lid opens,
as shown in the photograph below.
I am surprised - it's a fair amount of liquid in this plant.
It is sterile and probably safe to drink - with moderation.

See the reference below for chemical contents...


Secreted pitfall-trap fluid of carnivorous Nepenthes plants is unsuitable for microbial growth
by Franziska Buch, Matthias Rott, Sandy Rottloff, Christian Paetz, Ines Hilke, Michael Raessler, andAxel Mithöfer

Annals of Botany. 2013 Mar. 111(3): 375-383

"The pitcher fluid of closed pitchers was found to be primarily an approx. 25-mM KCl (Potassium chloride) solution,
which is free of bacteria and unsuitable for microbial growth."


Nikon D300 + Micro Nikkor 60mm F2.8
F11, 1.0 sec, ISO 200, Raw (Nikon Capture NX)
Copyright (c) 2017 Makoto Honda. All Rights Reserved.