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Venus Flytrap & Sundew

Despite what you have seen in the movies, there are no man-eating plants. There are however, plants that grow in nitrogen poor soil that have evolved the ability to trap insects and small animals with methods that would put science fiction to shame. This website is dedicated to these wonderful plants.

To capture their prey, the plants have developed three different trap styles. The most familiar is the active trap, typified by the fast acting leafy jaws of the Venus Flytrap. Insects are attracted to the traps by a sweet nectar inside. Three trigger hairs inside the trap sense when a insect is present. If one hair is touched, nothing happens. If however, the hair is touched again, or one of the other two is touched, then the trap springs closed. Further struggling causes the trap to seal tighter. The trap then fills with a digestive enzyme, which breaks down the soft parts of the insect so that it can be absorbed by the plant. The process can take several days. When the insect is completely digested, the trap reopens, in wait of another victim.

The semi-active trap uses sticky fluid as itís main means of capture. Sundews and Butterworts both fall into this category. Once the insect is stuck to the adhesive, the plant begins a slow movement to bring more sticky adhesive in contact with it. Sundews do this by bending their sticky tentacles, and Butterworts do it by rolling up their leaves to cup the digestive fluid. Once firmly captured, the plants then secrete a digestive enzyme to dissolve the soft parts of the insect. With sundews, the insect can be ingested in a matter of hours.

Passive traps like Pitcher Plants, the Cobra Lily, and the Nepenthes, capture insects without movement. Sweet nectar at the entrance to the trap attracts the insect. In the Pitcher Plant, downward pointing hairs allow the insect to move further in, but not back. The insect finally gets to an area that is as slick as glass, and it loses itís footing. It falls into a pool of digestive fluid where it drowns and becomes a meal for the plant.

Carnivorous Plants generally like acid soil or sphagnum moss and high humidity. They do well in terrariums.

New Pictures of Carnivorous Plants From My Personal Collection(added 8/19/2014)

Pictures of Carnivorous Plants From My Personal Collection(added 7/28/2013)

Pictures of Carnivorous Plants From My Personal Collection(added 8/06/2011)

Pictures of Carnivorous Plants From My Personal Collection(added 9/17/2009)

Pictures of Pitcher Plants and Sundews at Cranberry Glades, West Virginia (added 6/21/2008)

Pictures of Carnivorous Plants From My Personal Collection (updated 9/16/2008)

 

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All images and pictures on this website are (c)2014 by Michael F. Borman

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