Plants obtain the nutrients that they need from the soil – through their root systems. However, some soils are low in particular nutrients (especially nitrate – the source of nitrogen needed for organic compounds like amino acids and proteins). Some plants have ‘solved’ this problem by being carnivorous – feeding on / digesting small arthropods, such as spiders (arachnids), beetles, ants, flies etc (insects).
We have some exceptional plants which attract, traps and digest animals such as insects but also rarely snails, lizards or even small mammal creatures. Here are some amazing yet revolting carnivorous plants which you will discover in this article. Some might be familiar whereas some might be unfamiliar to you and so let’s check out the following carnivorous plants.
Sundews: This plant catches insects with the sticky glands on their modified leaves. Their name refers to the glistening drops of sticky mucilage on the tip of each gland. Small insects are attracted to the plant and when they come in contact with the sticky mucilage they find it difficult to escape. These glands or tentacles can move and help further entrap the prey. Sundews generally grow in moist or wet habitats, with acidic soils but do ‘like’ plenty of light.
Tropical Pitcher Plant: This plant is otherwise known as a monkey cup as the pitchers of the plants are used as the drinking cups by the monkeys. The pitcher plant is native to Madagascar, Southeast Asia, and Australia and is about 150 species of Nepenthes. The pitcher part of the plant is capable to reach over a foot in height and is ideal for capturing as well as digesting the insects and also small lizards, amphibians and even mammals. The animal victims fall for the sweet-scented nectar of the plants. Thus, the animals fall into the pitcher and take about two months to digest.
Cobra Lily: As per the name of the plant, it looks exactly like a cobra snake which is about to strike. Cobra Lily is botanically known as Darlingtonia Californica which is the rare type of plant. It is native to the cold-water bogs of Oregon and northern California. One unique characteristic of this plant is that it is truly diabolical – it does not lure the insects into the pitcher but also the closed pitchers have numerous false exits through which the victims try to escape.
Trigger Plant: The name of the plant itself an unusually aggressive one and is obscure whether the trigger plant is carnivorous or simply trying to protect itself from the pesky insects. Yet some species of trigger plants are armed with “trichomes” or sticky hairs which are useful for capturing small bugs and have nothing to do with the pollination process. It is also unclear that the plants actually derive any nutrition from their small prey.
Venus Fly Trap: Botanically known as Dionaea muscipula, the Venus Flytrap is another carnivorous plant that acts like that a Tyrannosaurus rex of Dinosaurs species. It is native to the North Caroline and South Carolina subtropical wetlands and is characterized as small yet its sticky eyelid like traps are only about an inch long. Here is one interesting fact about the Venus flytrap which is – to cut down on false alarms from falling leaves and pieces of debris, the trap of this plant will shut only if an insect touches two different interior hairs within 20 seconds.
Moccasin Plant: The moccasin plant is botanically known as Cephalotus which is originally found in Southwest Australia. Like Pitcher plants, it attracts the insects with its sweet-scent and lures them into the moccasin- shaped pitchers, where the doomed bug is slowly digested. One bizarre thing about the moccasin plant is that it is relatable to the flowering plants than other carnivorous pitcher plants. Thus, it could be considered as the convergent evolution scientifically.
It is quaint essential to know about these kinds of plants which we could never have come across yet it is interesting to know about their characterizations.