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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Hungry Plants

Hungry Plants

Charles Darwin Venus flytrap drawing, publisjhed in1875  (credit: Public Domain)

Some plants are adapted to environments, like bogs, that support few others. Such constantly soggy places are nutrient deficient, acidic, and lack dissolved oxygen, several of which that necessary for proper plant growth. To survive, such plants, with widely divergent genetic and geographic backgrounds, have evolved novel ways of surviving these environmental limiatations with physical and nutritional adaptations that are similar. They are carnivores.

Carnivorous plants attract their prey with sticky surfaces, trap doors that squash a bug, or deep pitchers where the unsuspecting critter, even small mammals, can crawl into but not out of. Some of these plants are so odd they are actually beautiful such as the temperate and tropical pitcher plants. Temperate species are found in North America and tropical forms in Asia. Charles Darwin was fascinated by carnivorous plants and drew them in his 19th Century studies of evolution.

 

           Temperate and tropical pitch plants, Sarracenia & Nepenthes species (credit: SWP Media)

Plant carnivors may be "little shops of horrors" to bugs but they are remarkable to discover in the wild, are strangely beautiful, and can be cultivated at home with attention to their peculiar growing requirements. WHB

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