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Carnivorous Plants March 24, 2009

Posted by woodtree0587 in Uncategorized.

Who here is interested in Carnivorous plants (sometimes called insectivorous plants)? These plants are so called Carnivorous because they derive most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming animals or protozoan’s (microorganisms classified as unicellular, or many celled organisms such as eukaryotes), these are typically insects and other arthropods (spiders (arachnids) and crustacean like creatures (shell fish)). These plants appear to be adapted to growing in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, for example acidic bogs or rocky outcroppings.

It is thought that “true carnivory” in plants evolved in at least ten separate lineages of plants, and that these are now represented by more than a dozen genera in five families. These include but not limited to about 625 species that attract and trap prey produce digestive enzymes, and then absorb the resulting available nutrients. Additionally, over 300 protocarnivorous plant species (plants that have the ability to trap prey, but cannot absorb or digest the prey) in several different genera show some but not all the characteristics of ‘true carnivorous’ plants.

There are five basic trapping mechanisms found, that carnivorous plants use.

1.       Pitfall traps (more commonly known as pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.


2.       Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage (sticky substance thought to aid in water storage, example sundew)


3.       Snap traps utilize rapid leaf movements (such as the Venus Flytrap)



4.       Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum (such as Bladderworts)



5.       Lobster-pot traps force prey to move towards a digestive organ with inward-pointing hairs (such as corkscrew plants)


Not all of these methods are active because it depends on whether there is movement of the plant to help aid capture and retention of prey.

Carnivorous plants are wide spread but like the exotic orchids are rare to come by. Their habitats are almost entirely restricted to bogs where soil nutrients are very limiting, but where sunlight and water are readily available. They can also be found near and around dessert outcroppings where water isn’t as readily available but where sun is.

Sun is the source of energy, but in order to produce and carry out energy the plants obtain mainly Nitrogen and Phosphorus (both used in the plants of reproduction and metabolism functions). Plants have also been known to get Potassium and Calcium for cell structure and strength.

Without the adaptations that carnivorous plants have obtained they could not survive in the environments of which they live. Also I personally think the world would be a slightly duller place without these fascinating plants.


Here is a Pretty Awesome Video that I was able to findon YouTube:




1. ksl - March 24, 2009

This is very interesting. I’ve always found the plants like the venus flytrap very cool, but I’ve never known much about them until now.

2. Shari Blackman - April 9, 2009

Carnivorous plants are cool too. We used to have a venus flytrap when my boys were young and it was fun feeding it and watching it eat. They are delicate though and die easily in captivity I think.

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