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Carnivorous Plants

Who’s hungry?

Carnivorous Plants

Did you know that not all carnivorous plants are related to each other?

  1. Carnivorous plants are an amazing example of convergent evolution. This refers to a phenomenon where unrelated organisms independently evolve similar traits in response to similar environments.
  2. Most carnivorous plants grow in bogs, where soil is thin and nutrient deficient. Due to these conditions, some plants have to find other ways to get the nutrients they need.
  3. Carnivorous plants are classified into two main groups: those that obtain their prey through passive traps and those that actively seek prey through rapid leaf movement.
  4. To digest their prey, these plants secrete enzymes to speed up decomposition and absorb nutrients.

Pitcher Plants

Deadly vessels! Pitcher Plants are carnivorous plants that have specialized leaves that are shaped like little tubes. When small insects fall inside the leaf, they are trapped and drown in digestive liquids.

Did you know some animals use pitcher plants as toilets?

  1. Some species of Nepenthes pitcher plants have formed symbiotic relationships with small animals such as bats and shrews.
  2. The pitcher plant provides animals with sweet nectar or a place to sleep.
  3. The animal then defecates inside the pitcher leaves, leaving behind a nice dose of nutrients!
  4. Most species of pitcher plants consume different types of prey by trapping them inside of their specialized leaves.

Venus Flytraps

It’s a trap! These famous carnivorous plants have specialized trap leaves designed to capture and consume small insects.

Did you know a Venus flytrap can close its leaves in as little as .3 seconds?

  1. Venus flytrap leaves contain small trigger hairs that line the inside of their trap.
  2. The plant’s trap quickly closes when an insect touches 2 or more of the hairs in a row.
  3. Once the trap leaf is closed, digestive enzymes break down the prey so that the plant can absorb its nutrients.

Other plants in this greenhouse

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