the Pitcher Plant Sing Along / oil

anthropomorphizing plants

anthropomorphizing plants


As I’m hanging around in the Water Garden on different days drawing the pitcher plants, I’m often joined by groups of kids and their teachers. This is what I learned about the pitcher plants.

The pitcher plants grow in poor soil. The water dissolves the nutrients in the ground and washes them away. Pitcher plants catch their own fertilizer in the form of bugs. Bugs are attracted to the sweet slightly funky sticky stuff inside the pitcher. When they go in to eat they get stuck and drown in a little sugar water inside the pitcher. As they decompose they feed the plant. The lid shaped leaves don’t go down to close the mouth. The leaves are shaped to run rain water away from the pitcher. The stems are narrow at the bottom and wide at the mouth, so it looks like if the pitcher fills up with water the plant would fall over. Later in the summer a lot of them do fall down.

When I get home and look at my drawing I wonder why the teachers don’t talk about the plants crazy personality. Everyone finds these plants fascinating and they don’t know why. This is my explanation. The wide open heart shaped mouths and upturned leaf shaped noses make the plants look like they’re laughing or maybe singing. What are they laughing at? Are bugs tickling their throats? Is it all a bug joke to them? Are they all singing? Is it a frequency beyond the range of human ears? This is the kind of questions I think of.

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