Carnivorous plants are plants that lure, capture, kill and digest bugs and small vertebrates to obtain nutrients for growth and survival.
Most plants grow well because there is sunlight, rain and nutrients in the soil where they grow. But carnivorous plants grow in habitats that are poor in nutrients. Therefore they make up for this by eating bugs and sometimes small vertebrates to supplement their nutrient needs.
They can be as tiny as the letter “o” in the header “Carnivorous Plants!” above or as big as 2 meters wide with their vines growing as tall as a 2-storey building. Their traps however, can be as tiny as 1-2 mm in diameter or as large as a football.
HOW DO THEY CAPTURE INSECTS
In order to seduce insect prey to their traps, carnivorous plants may offer sweet nectar, emit an irresistible scent or use colors on their traps.
To capture prey, carnivorous plants use various trapping mechanisms. Some use pitfall traps, while others use sticky glue on their leaves like a flypaper trap. There are also species that capture insects using the suction method that works just like a vacuum cleaner and still others have traps that function like a bear or mouse trap that moves rapidly and shuts the insect in its trap like a clam.
Once an insect is captured, the traps will produce enzymes or digestive fluids to digest the dead insect. The nutrient-rich juices from this process will then be reabsorbed by the plant for growth.
WHERE CAN I FIND CARNIVOROUS PLANTS
You might be surprised to know that carnivorous plants can be found throughout the world except in extreme climate such as the North and South Pole, and in hot dry deserts. If you do a little research, you will be delighted to find native species of carnivorous plants growing in your backyard.
Carnivorous plants grow in open, wet and low-nutrient habitats that receive sun throughout the day. They can be found in heath and peat swamp forest, secondary vegetation, wetlands, bogs and montane forest. Humidity is high in their habitat but in most instances there is good air circulation as well.
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