About CPs
The Genus Catopsis
Catopsis berteroniana
Catopsis berteroniana in captivity.

Catopsis is a genus of nearly twenty bromeliad species. Only one, Catopsis berteroniana is considered carnivorous. Catopsis berteroniana ranges from the southern tip of Florida (Collier, Dade and Monro counties), throughout México (Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco estados), the Caribbean (Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago) and Central America (Belize, Guatemala), and south into Guyana, Venezuela, and Brazil (Bahia, Parana, Santa Catarina).

Catopsis berteroniana is an epiphyte, which means it lives by clinging to the bare branches of moderate to large trees with sparse foliage, attached by a dense mass of wiry roots. Indeed, Catopsis berteroniana is so well adapted to a tree-adhering lifestyle that plants fallen to the ground die. Healthy plants produce a rosette of loosely packed leaves. The leaves are so bright yellow that the plant almost appears to glow. The leaves are also coated with a waxy, powdery white cuticle that enhances the effect.

The image is so evocative of a lamp placed on the bare branches of the tree, that in South American it has earned Catopsis berteroniana the common name lampera de la selva (jungle lantern). Even I will agree that this is a pretty cool name. In comparison, the prosaic Latin name, Catopsis, derives from etymology relating to the habit of the plant as an epiphyte ("hanging"), although the plants don't really hang.

Hanging or not, Catopsis berteroniana plants attract insects readily, and they are trapped by the slippery leaves. Unlike Brocchinia reducta, the prey are not caught in the central urn. Instead they mostly slide into a watery death by the leaves surrounding the center of the plant.

Read more about Catopsis at the ICPS sarracenia.com FAQ

-- Barry Rice

Catopsis information in the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter:

Butschi, Lorenz. Translation by Dorothea Huber and Klaus Ammann (1989) Carnivorous plants of Auyantepui in Venezuela. Part 2. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 18(2):47-51 ( )

Search the CPN Index and Archive for more articles about Catopsis.

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