Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)



Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis) is a small carnivorous plant in the family Cephalotaceae, native to southwestern Australia. It is the only species in genus Cephalotus. Albany pitcher plant is also known as Western Australia Pitcher Plant, Fly-catcher plant, and Moccasin plant. The common name is to indicate that the plant is found near the Australian town of Albany.

Albany pitcher plant grows on margins of freshwater wetlands, ditches, slow streams, and on moist peaty sands found in swamps or along creeks. The plants usually nestle to each other in moss at ground level. It is a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and over-collecting.

Albany pitcher plant grows from underground rhizomes and its evergreen leaves grow close to the ground. Albany pitcher plant is a small, compact, low-growing, herbaceous plant with hairy, pit-fall trap. It has two different types of leaves, the non-carnivorous leaves and the pitcher leaves. The non-carnivorous leaves are hairy, flat, spear-shaped, and bright green in color, emerging from each rosette growth point in early spring. These leaves will last for about a year and wither just before the new leaves emerge the following spring.

As summer approach, the pitcher leaves begin forming as little hairy knobs at the end of long petioles, and later transform to become pitcher traps, each 2-5 cm long. The pitcher trap has the appearance of moccasin, and will rest on the ground with the entrance/mouth facing away from the center rosette growth point. The pitchers are green in shadier areas, and develop a dark red in bright light.

The operculum or lid at the entrance allows in light and to prevent rainwater from entering and diluting the digestive enzymes. The peristome at the entrance is festooned with glands, to prevent fallen prey from escaping. Each pitcher is filled with fluid, exuded from dome-like glands, 0.2 mm in diameter. The bottom of the pitcher is covered with tiny glands, 0.02 mm diameter, that secrete digestive enzymes. The Albany pitcher plant bears small white or creamy hermaphroditic flowers in late summer.

Propagation is by root or leaf cuttings, usually non-carnivorous leaf.

Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cephalotus_follicularis_Hennern_3.jpg
authorshipHolger Hennern
photo licensing

Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis) in coastal area of SW AustraliaAlbany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis) in coastal area of SW Australia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cephalotus_follicularis_Hennern_4.jpg
authorshipHolger Hennern
photo licensing

Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)Albany Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cephalotus_follicularis_28012007.jpg
authorshipFlorent Chouffot
photo licensing

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