The beasts of the plant world that go against the ‘order of nature’ and were sent to the rubbish tip of science.
Not all plants that trap or kill animals are considered carnivorous.
To be carnivorous a plant must:
- Capture and kill prey
- Digest the prey and
- Get a significant benefit from nutrients provided by the prey
There are five different types of traps used by carnivorous plants. The traps are made from specially modified leaves. They lure in prey using bright colours, nectar, guide hairs, and/or leaf extensions. The types of traps are …..
- Pitfall trap – the leaves are folded into deep, slippery pools filled with digestive enzymes. Found in pitcher plants.
- Flypaper trap (sticky or adhesive traps) – the leaves are covered in stalked glands that exude sticky mucilage. Used by sundews and butterwort plants.
- Snap trap (steel trap) – have hinged leaves that snap shut when trigger hairs are touched. Found in Venus flytraps and waterwheel plants.
- Suction traps – have leaves in the shape of a bladder, with a hinged door lined with trigger hairs. Only found in bladderworts.
- Lobster pot – have twisted tubular channels lined with hairs and gland. Found in corkscrew plants.
Four more plant facts for you ....
with the nutrients they gain from munching down.
2. Carnivorous plants never user their flowers as traps.
3. The largest carnivorous plant is Borneo’s Nepenthes rajah,
whose pitcher can hold more than 1.5 litres of fluid.
4. The oldest carnivorous plant leaf fossil is 35-47 million
years old. It was found in amber on the Baltic coastline.
What type of trap do you think it used?
This fantastic photo of the glands of Drosera regia was found on the International Carnivorous Plant Society's web site. Find a link to their website and other resources below.
Botanical Society of America
Carnivorous Plant Resource
International Carnivorous Plant Society
Mother Nature Network