Brocchinia reducta

Brocchinia reducta
Brocchinia reducta on Mount Roraima
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Pitcairnioideae
Genus: Brocchinia
Species: B. reducta
Binomial name
Brocchinia reducta
Baker 1882
Brocchinia reducta distribution

Brocchinia reducta /brɒˈkɪniə rˈdʌktə/ is one of few carnivorous bromeliads. It is native to southern Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana, and is found in nutrient-poor soil.[1][2][3][4] Brocchinia reducta adapts to different environments, growing on rocks and uses its roots as anchors. [5]


Brocchinia reducta, like many other bromeliads, forms a water-storing cup with its tightly-overlapping leaves. The leaves surrounding the cup of B. reducta are coated with loose, waxy scales. These scales are highly reflective of ultraviolet light. Since many insects are attracted to ultraviolet (it is also reflected by many flowers), this is an efficient lure. The water in the cup also emits a sweet odor, which may serve to attract ants and other insects.[6] The brocchinia reducta absorbs its nutrients from the outer cell wall that contain trichomes that transport molecules that are 6.6 nm. ([7]

The scales, being loose, provide a poor foothold for insects landing on them. This allows insects to slip into the water-filled cup and eventually drown.[8]

It has been argued that B. reducta is not actually carnivorous in the sense of other such plants because the production of digestive enzymes could not be found. However, in 2005 it was shown that the plant produces at least phosphatase and thus is a carnivorous plant in sensu stricto. The enzymes and bacteria digest the trapped insects and thus release the nutrients for absorption by the leaves.[9]


  1. Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
  3. Funk, V. A., P. E. Berry, S. Alexander, T. H. Hollowell & C. L. Kelloff. 2007. Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 55: 1–584
  4. Smith, L.B. & R. J. Downs. 1974. Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae), Part I. Flora Neotropica, Monograph 14(1): 1–660
  5. Brown and Martin (1984). "Stigma structure and variation in Bromeliaceae—neglected taxonomic characters.".
  6. Gonzalez, J.M., K. Jaffe & F. Michelangeli 1991. Competition for Prey Between the Carnivorous Bromeliaceae Brocchinia reducta and Sarraceniaceae Heliamphora nutans. Biotropica 23(4B): 602–604.
  7. thomson. "canadian journal of botany".
  8. Givnish, T.J., Burkhardt, E.L., Happel, R.E. & Weintraub, J.D. (1984). Carnivory in the bromeliad Brocchinia reducta, with a cost/benefit model for the general restriction of carnivorous plants to sunny, moist, nutrient-poor habitats. American Naturalist 124: 479-497.
  9. Plachno, B. J.; Jankun, A.: Phosphatase Activity in Glandular Structures of Carnivorous Plant Traps., International Botanical Congress 2005 Vienna, P1716, The Jagiellonian Univ., Inst. of Botany, Dept. of Plant Cytology and Embryology, Kraków,Poland.

Further Reading

Adlassnig, W; Peroutka, M; Lendl, T (February 2011). "Traps of carnivorous pitcher plants as a habitat: composition of the fluid, biodiversity and mutualistic activities.". Annals of Botany. 107 (2): 181–94. doi:10.1093/aob/mcq238. PMID 21159782. 

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