Flora: The Pitcher Plant

 

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PITCHER PLANT

 

Fig. A (plan view) Local pitcher plants proved useful in the collection of many small animals and insects to the point where often it became preferable to other methods. They are fairly aggressive and use the natural rainwater to catalyse an enzyme genetically similar to the ammonite mucus mentioned previously. This turns the bath acidic so one needs to be quick. If the prey is to be useful as anything more than a skeleton (see Fig A)

One hazard in collecting the specimens is the number of veiny spiders that share the not so much symbiotic relationship as one that benefits the spiders themselves. A clever trick of evolution and adaptability has changed their aspect from lone clinging and presenting them back to an additional layer of camouflage.

Use of local flora: a carnivorous plant and natural sample collection

These species of pitcher plants and indeed so many of the planet’s species display robust and extremely visual versatility and the breadth of patterns and shapes cross over from plant to animal.

 

To scale

Insects adhere to the sticky internal walls preventing escape until decomposition or rigor mortis sets in and the prey falls to the bottom

 

three clear developmental stages

growth cycle, exhibited in three clear developmental stages


 

It is interesting to note that in Prometheus you can clearly see pitcher plants in Elizabeth Shaw’s room while she is trying to find out what killed the Engineers.

Could it be a foreshadowing? I know Ridley Scott hadn’t even conceived the sequel to Prometheus so it was just chance.

Could it foreshadow the trap David had set, he looks like he is helping her but he had more sinister plans. His actions trapping her on Planet 4? Again the sequel to Prometheus had not been written yet, but I am sure these are the sort of conclusions and symbolism people may link between the movies.

Just like the mural in the headroom, which started out as just a homage to H.R. Giger. Eventually, everything develops meaning when it’s original purpose is lost to time and lack of information. But does it really matter? This symbolism is what makes these movies fascinating.

 

“But in the cosmos there is balm as well as bitterness, and that balm is nepenthe.“ and “For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.” – H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”

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Pitcher of Nepenthes distillatoria. A: Honey-gland from attractive surface of lid. B: Digestive gland from interior of pitcher, in pocket-like depression of epidermis, opening downwards. C: Traverse section same.

Nepenthe is a fictional medicine for sorrow, literally an anti-depressant – a “drug of forgetfulness” mentioned in ancient Greek literature (Homer’s Oddessey) and Greek mythology, depicted as originating in Egypt.

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug to quiet all pain and strife and bring forgetfulness of every ill. – Odyssey, Book 4, v. 219–221

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The Australian Pitcher Plant is the only member of the Australian genus Cephalotus.

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Nepenthes pitchers hang from tendrils.

 

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Scanning electron micrograph of a pitcher’s inner surface.

Lumpy Gourd

Massam Corrumpit

Hard outer casing surrounding a somewhat fleshy substance which seems to be sufficient in satiating appetite. When extracted correctly the remaining shell creates a useful vessel.

This concept art was by Matt Hatton


I have identified this to be a bumpy gourd. It’s interesting that David mentions it’s sufficient to satiate an appetite, could it be Elizabeth that he was testing the food for?


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Massam Corrumpit is Latin for Lump

Gourds are possibly the first domesticated plant species with fossilised specimens found at archaeological sites dating from as early as 13,000 BC. They have had numerous uses throughout history, including as tools, musical instruments, objects of art, film, and food.

As well as a food source this could also be a link to creation and flood mythology.

 

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Above: Nuwa and Fuxi Mural, Han DynastyPublic Domain

Long ago, when the world first began, there were two people, Nü Kua and her older brother. They lived on Mount K’un-lun. And there were not yet any ordinary people in the world. They talked about becoming husband and wife, but they felt ashamed. So the brother at once went with his sister up Mount K’un-lun and made this prayer: “Oh Heaven, if Thou wouldst send us two forth as man and wife, then make all the misty vapor gather. If not, then make all the misty vapor disperse.” At this, the misty vapor immediately gathered. When the sister became intimate with her brother, they plaited some grass to make a fan to screen their faces. Even today, when a man takes a wife, they hold a fan, which is a symbol of what happened long ago. – 獨異志; c. 846 – 874 AD

Fuxi and Nüwa, according to the Classic of Mountains and Seas were the original humans who lived on the mythological Kunlun Mountain (Huashan).

One myth says they set up two separated piles of fire, and the fire eventually became one. Under the fire, they decided to become husband and wife. Fuxi and Nüwa used clay to create offsprings, and with the divine power they made the clay figures come to life. These clay figures were the earliest human beings.

This myth has several variations, but the outline describes a great flood which destroyed all the humans all over the world except a pair of brother and sister, or aunt and nephew. Both were forced to be married in order to repopulate the world.

One version stated that their children were ordinary humans, while the others said it was a lump of meat, gourd, melon, or grindstone; after they opened, cut, or destroyed it, humans emerged.