The Pitcher Plant: Fools Beware


I visited Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens this summer. One of my favourite rooms within the large glasshouse was dedicated to carnivorous plants. There were Venus flytraps, Cape Sundews and Pitchers. The Pitcher plant uses a ‘pitfall’ trap into which flies and other insets are lured on account of appealing colours or tiny offerings of nectar. The flies are attracted to the cavity, inside which is a digestive liquid. Once the fly has popped inside, waxy scales or sticky sides prevent escape.  


I managed to take a photograph of a fly tempted by the colours, smells and taste of the Pitcher’s trap. Once it crawled inside, it would not emerge, becoming instead a mixture of amino acids, ammonium and urea from which the plants derives its desired minerals.


Humans might be more intelligent than flies, but we are scarcely any wiser. How many are lured by the deadly attractions of pornography, narcotics or pride?


For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,

    and her mouth is smoother than oil.

But in the end she is as bitter as poison,

    as dangerous as a double-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death;

    her steps lead straight to the grave.

For she cares nothing about the path to life.

    She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.


Proverbs 5