The carnivorous Purple pitcher plant is found throughout North America, from Florida up through Newfoundland. They live in bogs, wetlands, swamps and other regions where the soil is damp, acidic and nutrient deficient. The plant is carnivorous in order to supplement the nutrients missing from the soil. The plant has evolved certain features to help it thrive in these locations; the main feature being the function of the tubular leaf it receives its name from. The keel part of the leaves provides stability and assists in photosynthesis. The keel is larger on plants that live in more nutrient rich soil. If the plant receives enough sun the plant will turn a red purple color.

The pitcher plant absorbs nutrients from small bugs and amphibians that climb into its trap. The plant secretes sweet smelling nectar to entice insects to it. Once inside, sharp downward pointing hairs prevent the insect from escaping. The insect drowns and is slowly dissolved by the plant's digestive enzymes.

When photographing Pitcher plants in their natural environment, one needs to factor in the soil conditions. Bogs are very squishy. It is hard to set up a tripod in them because they will sink unevenly. I used a Canon 10D with 50-70mm lens. Luckily, it was bright enough so that I had a short exposure time. If weather conditions are not as favorable, you can try using a hand-held flash.
Endoscope photograph of hairs
Endoscope setup
All images copyrighted by Heather Meers
I am currently a third year student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. My major is Biomedical Photographic Communications with a concentration in high magnification photography. This website was complied as a final project for a photomacrography class in the fall of 2006.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

The equipment I used to photograph my Pitcher plant in the studio: