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Mark Catesby (1682-1749)

Water frog and purple pitcher plant c.1722-6

RCIN 926021

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In common with other naturalists of his day, Catesby was not aware that the pitcher plant was carnivorous. Instead he thought that it provided what he called a ‘secure Retreat’ for insects from predators such as the frog shown here. It was later discovered that the plant holds a reservoir of rainwater and digestive enzymes which enables it to consume insects.