Growing carnivorous plants

Venus fly traps and more in my little shop of horrors

   Jan 03

Why do carnivorous plants eat insects?

English: Sarracenia leucophylla (pitcher plant...

Most plants get their nourishment from sunshine, water and the soil. However carnivorous plants such as venus fly traps, pitcher plants and sundews evolved in areas where the soil was poor, so minerals and nutrients were hard to find. By adapting over time, insectivorous plants learned that they could still get the food they needed, even in poor quality soil, by instead luring and trapping the insects that land on them in search of nectar.

The different types of carnivorous plants do this in a variety of ways, from snapping shut when they sense an insect land (e.g. venus fly trap), creating a slippery surface so that insects that land fall into a tall tube (e.g. sarracenia), to being incredibly sticky so that anything that lands on the leaves cannot fly or crawl back off (e.g. butterwort).

Once the insect is caught, the plant starts to digest it until it has absorbed all the nutrients it can extract from it. The boggy environments in which they often grow in the wild have plenty of sunlight and water to offer, but the soil is incredibly limited in the amount of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients it can provide. Because of this, the evolved ability of these plants to trap and digest any insects unfortunate enough to cross their paths, rather than relying on absorbing nutrients from the ground, has been vital to their survival.

Of course, it is also worth noting that these plants do not actually “eat” insects. They trap, digest and absorb them, but there is no human-like eating mechanism involved.

 

Originally posted 2013-08-11 15:31:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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