DragonsEye wrote:I would disagree with that theory. Many non-carnivorous plants which grow in high light do not have wide leaves ... like grasses which expose even less surface area to direct sunlight than a sarr. Then there are cacti and some succulents which have gone the route of doing away with leaves entirely. So don't really think that carnivory has anything to do with narrow leaves.
But this is the point exactly - that plants in high light can afford to have narrower or reduced or even non-existent leaves, whether for carnivory or to minimize water loss.
But I’d add that when any plant is deprived of its normal light requirements, the response is etiolation (elongated, thin stems and leaves). In a plant like Sarracenia or Dionaea, it’s mostly not going to do much good unless it’s only a temporary situation, because there is no way for the growing point to get much closer. Otherwise the plant just dies. But for a vining plant like Nepenthes, it does make sense since it will not be able to metabolize nutrients if it can’t photosynthesize. Consider even the development of Monstera (of any species): The first leaves are almost always entire, but not too big, with ample space between nodes. The priority is to find a tree and climb up it. Once it gets into the sun, it’s getting more energy and begins to make the characteristic large leaves. The holes and slits help prevent the leaves from tearing in the wind they’re now exposed to. In the case of a Nepenthes outcompeting it’s neighbors for sun, it’s helpful. For a Sarracenia, etiolation with less efficient trapping might still help it poke through encroaching shrubs and survive until a fire came through and burned away that competition. (Indeed forest fire suppression is a major factor in the threatened status of S. oreophila.)
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