We like to think of the plant world as a peaceful one. A respite from the predators of the animal kingdom.
But sometimes the plants themselves are the killers. The world of carnivorous plants are strange, creepy, and amazing. The well known variety is the Venus flytrap, but there are dozens of carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants and bladderwort.
We find these plants fascinating and brilliant, evolving over millions of years to snare their victims using a range of different tactics.
There are over 580 different species of plants that attract, trap, and kill their prey in the wild, using some of the techniques below.
The five trapping mechanisms in the carnivorous plant world:
- Pitfall traps (pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.
- Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage.
- Snap traps utilise rapid leaf movements.
- Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum.
- Lobster-pot traps, also known as eel traps, use inward-pointing hairs to force prey to move towards a digestive organ.
Aside from pitcher plants where victims fall in, and Venus flytraps, where jaws snap shut, there are Sundews, which are covered in long sticky tentacles, that ensnare their prey, and wrap them up to digest.
Pitcher plants come in a plethora of sizes, and are known to trap animals as large as mice, which get dissolved in their digestive juices at the bottom of the pitcher’s bowl.
Indeed, even the plant world has a dark side, an evolutionary branch of hungry species that trap and eat their animal prey.
Some of these amazing plants can be kept as houseplants, allowing you to witness their genius in person.
Learn more on Wikipedia. Photos via Wikimedia and Unsplash.