Carnivorous Plants Don’t Only Exist In Your Nightmares
They Feed On Unsuspecting Critters
by Simone Rogers, age 17
By using tricks of light and smell, some
plants in this world are not friends to insects. These carnivorous plants catch
and consume insects to supplement their diets much as humans use vitamins. They
need these additives because they live in waterlogged ground that lacks
eating or carnivorous plants are made up of two groups: inactive and active.
Plants with inactive traps have no moving parts, and simply attract their
victims with a food-like scent. This draws in an insect that will get stuck on
the plant’s sticky surface. Plants with active traps use moving parts to catch
their prey. When an insect is caught by either group, it is slowly dissolved by
digestive fluids, leaving only its exoskeleton the hard, outer casing of the
Flesh-eating plants have strange
adaptations to lure and trap critters. Some examples of carnivorous plants are butterwort,
bladderwort, cobra lily and American pitcher plant.
have flat leaves that are circular and sticky. This flower-like plant looks
innocent, but can catch an unfortunate insect off-guard. When the bug lands on
a butterwort’s distinctive leaves, it sticks to them and eventually dies.
develop traps shaped like tiny pouches. Water animals will swim past these
bubble-like bladders, which then snap open and suck the insect inside.
Pitcher plants have different shapes; some
have scales of wax, others have a snake like shape. The American pitcher plant
has straw-like hollow leaves that are slippery inside. As the insect tries to
climb up and out, scales block its climb; it eventually tires itself out and
drops into liquid at the bottom of the pitcher.
pitcher, also called the cobra lily, got its name because its shape looks like
a snake reared up with a flicking tongue. The California pitcher plant grows in
light. The insect enters, gets confused by light shining in through windows too
small for escape. They eventually become exhausted and die.
though their names and behaviors are strange enough to sound like fiction,
remember, these are real carnivorous plants.
[Source: Eyewitness Books: Plants]