“Lethal Leaves” – Part Three

carnivorous-plant-sundewcarnivorous-plant-sundew2Carnivorous plants are closely association with fires. Some are able to withstand forest fires and rapidly regenerate from their roots alone. Others, like the Portuguese Sundew, require periodic fires for their seeds to germinate. The sundew comprises one of the larger groups of carnivorous plants with about 195 species. Unlike the pitcher plant’s slippery cup, design, the beautiful sundews capture insects via a “flypaper trap” mechanism.

Like commercial flypaper, sundews are covered with a sticky, sweet secretion that attracts insects. But unlike man-made traps, certain sundews actually possess movable glandular tentacles that are mechanically active and bend tentacles around their prey to completely ensnare and even suffocate it. After the animal is wrapped, small glands begin to digest it and absorb nutrients into the plant. Is it reasonable to think that a “flypaper” plant that is better designed than our commercial products is the result of natural selection and random chance?

Posted on October 3, 2016 by dwoetzel.

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