While most plants are rather grateful for the addition of a little manure, one plant in particular really has developed a penchant for erm… ‘plant food’ and has taken the rather drastic measure of evolving into a toilet.
Carnivorous plants are much like other plants in that they get a large amount of their energy from the Sun. While many of our green chums are happy slipping tendrils deep into the soil to look for further nutrients, these fearsome flowers have come up with an altogether more dastardly plan.
The giant montane pitcher, Nepenthes rajah, is the largest carnivorous plant in the world and was first described in 1859 by Joseph Dalton Hooker, best friend of Charles Darwin. For decades the reason why it is so big has outfoxed even the foxiest of botanists. While rather large creatures such as birds and mice have been discovered being eaten away in the digestive juices of their deep pitchers, it still made no sense as to why they were quite so large. Until recently a learned type witnessed a rather remarkable event.
Before the eyes of the astonished researcher in crept a mountain treeshrew, who proceeded to lick the lid of the toilet plant. While he was happily slurping down the dewy treats the plant secretes, he went about his daily business in the bowl of the pitcher plant. While it may sound like an atrocious dining partner, the relationship is in fact an affable one; a liquid lunch for the furry fellow, and a nice deposit for the plant. A remarkable tale indeed and undoubtedly this isn’t the end of the story. For example, it is thought that perhaps the dew may have a laxative effect, and although we don’t want you to brag about hearing it here first we may confirm that going around licking toilet seats may result in a mild loosening of the bowels.