The fact that people, animals and insects use all parts of plants as food for us is not at all surprising.
Moreover, people have adapted to grow the most "delicious" plants by industrial methods in order to provide themselves with valuable food, and the most beautiful ones to enjoy them.
But when it comes to the fact that there are flowers that eat insects, it becomes a little uncomfortable, fantasy novels and horror films come to mind.
Of course, in reality, predatory flowers are not so scary, but they feed on mosquitoes, flies, spiders with great pleasure, frogs and mice can also become their victims
- Typical representatives of carnivorous plants
- Trap mechanisms and types
- Where green predators are common
- Flowers that eat insects, names and photos
- Venus flytrap: features of home care
- Where to buy flowers that eat insects
Typical representatives of carnivorous plants
If you look in a biology textbook, you can find out that there are not so few predators among the representatives of the flora: 19 families of predators are represented by about 630 species.
Predatory plant species have adapted to receive nitrogen compounds that are lacking for their vital activity during the digestion of their prey, i.e. were able to reduce the proportion of inorganic soil nitrogen required for protein synthesis.
The need for such changes was due to the poverty of the soil in the places of their growth.
Insectivores are mostly herbaceous perennials, they are found in different countries. For example, in the countries of the former USSR, 18 species of such plants are observed, they belong to the families of the Puzyrchatkovy and Rosyankovs.
Among the green predators, there are also small shrubs and shrubs.
The largest of them, the giant biblis, hunts not only for snails and frogs, but even for small lizards.
The vines of Nepentes differ in their interesting behavior, they attract mammals with their smell, they need such a close proximity: they use animal excrement as fertilizer.
The Rosolist shrub can be found in the Pyrenees and in northern Africa. The local population has adapted to using it instead of stickies for catching flies inside houses.
Carnivores have learned to extract phosphorus, potassium, and other trace elements from the remains of digested animals and insects, which are often insufficient in the soil where they grow.
To catch potential prey, predatory plants have specially adapted trapping organs, often modified leaves. Bright color, aroma, sweet discharge are intended to attract insects.
To digest the prey, the leaves secrete organic acids and pepsin, which serve as digestive enzymes. Leaves also assimilate the products formed as a result of the digestive process, they are mainly amino acids.
The root system of carnivorous representatives of the flora is poorly developed, however, all species, if necessary, can exist, receiving food from water or soil.
Food of animal origin is, as it were, an additional source of energy and accelerates the processes of growth and development, bud formation and flowering.
Even more useful information about green predators is in the video:
Trap mechanisms and types
Plants-predators, depending on the hunting organs, are divided into groups:
- with moving trapping organs such as the flycatcher and sundew;
- passive-catching, using sticky secretions on the leaves, such as jug-like trapping organs, nepentes, pemphigus
According to the classification of biologists, traps can be:
- jug-shaped leaves;
- closed by leaves with a trap structure;
- traps similar to the claws of a crab.
The relationship between trap type and predator family is not tracked.
Where green predators are common
The distribution area of insectivores is quite wide, they can be found in different ecosystems in which flowers can grow, from the tropics to the Arctic zone, in wetlands and desert areas, in the alpine mountain belt. Most often found in countries with warm, tropical climates.
On the territory of Russia there are:
- sundew of two types;
- water bladder Aldrovand;
- representatives of fat women;
- several varieties of pemphigus.
Flowers that eat insects, names and photos
Now it's the turn to find out what these unusual representatives of the green world are called.
Found on the American continent. Trap leaves look like hooded jugs. The hood protects the jug from water so that the gastric juice does not lose concentration!
Insects are attracted by smell and color, nectar-like discharge at the edges of the jug. Sliding along the surface of the bowl, insects fall to its bottom, where they are successfully digested with the help of protease and other enzymes.
The natural habitat of the tropics, the water lily is also a trapping organ. Another name for the plant is monkey cup. Most members of this genus are long vines with a small root system. Jugs are formed on the stems, at the ends of the antennae.
The trap contains a sticky liquid, insects falling into the jug drown in it. At the bottom of the trap there are special glands that absorb and distribute nutrients.
Small representatives of the species hunt insects, while larger ones can catch small mammals, rats and mice.
Californian Darlingtonia (Darlingtonia Californica)
The plant is considered rare, it can be found only in the state of Oregon and Northern California. Habitat springs with running water and swamps.
Darlingtonia leaves look like a bulb forming a cavity with a hole, two leaves form a kind of swollen ball, the other two leaves look like hanging fangs. From the inside, the trap is lined with small hairs; insects that have fallen on them can no longer get out.
It is a real long-liver, the plant can exist for about 50 years. The genus has the largest number of representatives among all known predatory plants, distributed on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.
The plant has glandular tentacles that secrete a sweetened liquid. After hitting the tentacles of a potential victim, the plant, with its other tentacles, begins to drive it inside the trap. Insects are digested very quickly, nutrients are immediately consumed for the further development of the plant.
The genus is represented by 220 species of green predators. Pemphigus is widespread enough, except in Antarctica.
The trap in plants of this species is bubbly, in some it is so small that only protozoa can catch in it, while other representatives of the genus are engaged in hunting tadpoles and water fleas.
The pressure in bubble traps is much lower than in their environment; when the hole is open, insects are sucked into the trap along with water, the valve closes in thousandths of a second.
Sticky sheets serve as bait for zhiryanka, they also catch insects and digest them. Insects are a very valuable source of minerals because the soil where fatty women grow is very poor in them.
The color of the leaves is pink or bright green. On their upper side there are 2 types of cells, one of them, the peduncle gland, produces mucus that acts like a sticky gland. Other types of cells produce digestive enzymes.
Some types of fatty women are able to hunt insects only in the warm season, in winter they form a dense non-carnivorous rosette.
There are 21 known representatives of this species, all of them grow in a semi-aquatic environment in Africa and South America. It looks like a medium-sized grass with yellow flowers. The trap looks like a crab claw. Detention of caught insects occurs with the help of hairs growing forward in a spiral.
The plant has two types of leaves, one is terrestrial, these leaves are involved in photosynthesis. The underground leaves serve as roots, and also attract and over-etch the captured protozoa. The underground leaves are hollow, in the form of spiral tubes, microorganisms enter them along with the flow of water, but cannot go back, because on the way, the process of their digestion will already begin.
This predator is also called rainbow, because of the bright mucus covering the leaves. in the sun. In appearance, biblisses are similar to sundews, but they have no family ties with them, the difference is a zygomorphic flower with five stamens.
Biblis sheets are conical, elongated, with a round section. The surface is fleecy and sticky from the secreted secretion, it copes well with catching insects.
It has no roots; it is represented by fragments of stems that float freely in the bush. Small vertebrates living in water serve as food. Trap leaves grow in the middle of the stem.
Aldrovand grows very quickly, the stem can lengthen by about 1 cm per day, while trap leaves can form daily. On the one hand, the stem grows quickly, but on the other, it dies off just as quickly.
The trapping organ consists of two lobules that can slam shut like a trap.
Venus flytrap: features of home care
And now it's the turn of the most famous of the predators, the Venus flytrap. The flycatcher's menu consists of insects and small spiders, it is small in size. Consists of a short stem and several aerial leaves.
Their plates are divided into lobes that form a trap. Mucus is secreted along the edges of the traps, the pigment contained in the inside of them provides a red tint to the leaf.
During the hunt, the lobes of the leaves instantly snap shut, the reason for this action is the irritation of the sensory hairs. The intelligence of the green predator allows him to distinguish the nature of the stimulus, inanimate stimuli do not cause the proper reaction.
When the leaves are slammed, very tough cilia are closed, framing them. It is they who hold the prey. The closed flaps create a kind of stomach, it is in it that the digestive process takes place.
Many lovers of home flowers dream of acquiring this beautiful predator in order to destroy insects in the apartment.
Note that pursuing such goals is generally not rational. The plant does not feed every day, in addition, only living insects can cause interest in it, you cannot feed the killed ones to your pet.
At the same time, proper care of the Venus flytrap is very troublesome. In particular: special requirements for the soil, the content of nitrogenous substances in it, moisture. The life of such a plant at home is sometimes not very long.
Read more about caring for the Venus flytrap - in the video:
Where to buy flowers that eat insects
Acquiring carnivorous flowers is not a big problem. In the form of shoots, they are offered by amateur flower growers, in the form of formed plants, some floristic online stores.
In the wild, namely in North America, the Venus flytrap is widespread. But local biologists are sounding the alarm; numerous poachers are destroying green spaces, offering plants to exotic lovers.
To stop the process of mass destruction of plants, the police mark the wild-growing venus flytrap with eco-friendly paint, these paints glow in ultraviolet rays and the police quickly manage to identify illegally sold specimens, it is officially allowed to sell only plants from nurseries and home greenhouses.
Flowers that eat insects are not poisonous, if you wish, they can be kept in the house. It is undoubtedly very interesting to observe such plants.
But when buying such a flower, you should understand that it requires special care, in addition, there may be problems with its nutrition.