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Convergent and divergent evolution in carnivorous pitcher plant traps

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1041
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Early online date13 Nov 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Oct 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2018


The pitcher trap is a striking example of convergent evolution across unrelated carnivorous plant lineages. Convergent traits that have evolved across pitcher plant lineages are essential for trap function, suggesting that key selective pressures are in action. Recent studies have also revealed patterns of divergent evolution in functional pitcher morphology within genera. Adaptations to
differences in local prey assemblages may drive such divergence and, ultimately, speciation. Here, we review recent research on convergent and divergent evolution in pitcher plant traps, with a focus on the genus Nepenthes, which we propose as a new model for research into adaptive radiation and speciation.

    Research areas

  • adaptive radiation, Cephalotus, functional morphology, Nepenthes, Sarraceniaceae, speciation




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