Carnivorous plants were dedicated to eating meat by necessity to help meet their nutritional needs. They often grow in bogs, heaths or swamps. All these environments are known to have soil deficient in nutrients.
As a coping mechanism, they developed ways to add meat to their diets, instead of relying on the more typical ways in which plants have to "eat". The result of these adaptations is often a plant which, by conventional standards, looks quite strange.
What are special carnivorous plants?
Carnivorous plants are plants of flowers predators that kill animals to obtain nourishment from their bodies. They share three attributes that operate together and differentiate them from other plants.
Capture and kill prey
Have a mechanism to facilitate the digestion of the dam.
Obtain a significant benefit from the assimilated nutrients of the prey.
Carnivorous plants eat insects, spiders, crustaceans and other invertebrates and protozoa that live in soil and water, lizards, mice, rats and other small vertebrates. Carnivorous plants perform this trick using specialized leaves that act as traps. Many traps attract prey with bright colors, extra floral nectaries, guide hairs and / or leaf extensions. Once captured and killed, the dam is digested by the plant and / or associated organisms. The plant then absorbs the available nutrients from the corpse.
1 Lily Cobra
Darlingtonia Californica, also called Cobra lily, is the only member of the genus Darlingtonia, and is native to northern California and Oregon. It grows in swamps and is filtered with cold running water and, due to its rarity in the field, is considered uncommon. The leaves of the cobra lily are bulbous and form a hollow cavity, with an opening located below a balloon inflated as a structure and two pointed leaves hanging from the end like fangs.
Unlike most carnivorous plants, the lily cobra does not use a trap in which insects fall, but traps when they have already entered inside it. Once inside, the insects are confused with the large patches of light that they allow to shine through the leaves of the plant. When they land, there are thousands of fine, dense hairs that grow inward, they can follow them towards the digestive organs, but they can not turn or move backwards to escape.
2 Dionea flytrap
Dionaea Muscipula, more commonly known as flycatcher or Venus flytrap, is probably the most well-known carnivorous plant and feeds mainly on insects and arachnids. The flytrap is a small plant that has 4-7 leaves that grow from a short underground stem. The lamina of the leaf is divided into two regions: a flat, long petiole, heart-shaped and photosynthetic, and a pair of terminal lobes, articulated in the central rib, forming the trap that is actually the leaf true
The inner surfaces of these lobes contain a red pigment and the edges secrete mucilage. These lobes exhibit a rapid movement of the plant when it is slammed when special sensory hairs are stimulated. The plant is so advanced that it can distinguish the difference between living stimuli and non-living stimuli.
3 Aldrovanda Vesiculosa
Aldrovanda Vesiculosa, is a fascinating aquatic plant, without roots, and is one of the carnivorous plants. It usually feeds on small aquatic vertebrates, using a trap mechanism. This plant consists mainly of free floating stems, which reach 6 to 11 cm in length. The 2-3 mm traps grow in 5-9 mm whorls, in close succession along the central stem of the plant. The traps are attached to the petioles, which contain air, and help in the flotation. This is a very fast growing plant and can reach 4-9 mm per day, in some cases even producing a new spiral every day.
As the plant grows from one end, the other end will die continuously. The openings of the trap point outward and are covered by a thin layer of trigger hairs, which will trap the trap around any prey that gets too close. The trap closes in just 10 milliseconds, which makes it one of the fastest examples of plant movement in the animal kingdom.
Byblis, is a small genus of carnivorous plants native to Australia. The name of the plant comes from the attractive appearance of its leaves covered with mucilage in the sun. Although these plants resemble Drosera and Drosophillum, they are not related in any way and can be distinguished by flowers with five cylindrical stamens.
The leaves have a round cross section, and tend to be very elongated and sharp at the end. The surface of the leaves is completely covered by glandular hairs that release a sticky mucilaginous substance, which in turn traps small insects in the leaves or tentacles as a passive trap.
Drosera, commonly known as sun dew, comprises one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 194 species. These can be found widely spread on all continents. Sprays of the sun (depending on the species) can form horizontal or vertical rosettes, which vary from 1 cm to 1 m in height, and can live up to 50 years.
When an insect falls on the sticky tentacles, the plant can move more tentacles in the direction of the insect to catch it better. Once trapped, the small sessile glands digest the insect and absorb the resulting nutrients, which can then be used to help growth.
Pinguicula, a group of carnivorous plants that use sticky and glandular leaves to attract, trap and digest insects. The nutrients of the insects complement the poor mineral content of the soil. There are approximately 80 species that can be found in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The leaves of these carnivorous plants are succulent and usually bright green or pinkish in color. There are two special types of cells that are found at the top of the leaves. One of these is known as the pendulum gland and consists of secretory cells on the top of a single stem cell
These cells produce a mucilaginous secretion that forms visible droplets through the surface of the leaves, and acts as a paper for flies. The other cells are called sessile glands. They are flat on the surface of the leaves and produce enzymes such as amylase, esterase and protease, which help in the digestion process.