“Lethal Leaves” – Part Five


Cobra Lily – Darlingtonia

In recent months, we have been considering the various mechanisms employed by carnivorous plants, including pitfall traps, flypaper traps, and bladder traps. In this edition our attention is drawn to the “corkscrew traps” (or lobster traps), like those employed by the Cobra Lily to the right. The end of the entrapping leaf is hooded and contains the darkened, circular opening into which insects can fly. They are tempted to enter because of its two hanging glands that secrete sugary nectar. Additional nectar glands inside the hood tempt the insect to continue its progress down. Once inside the plant, insects become disoriented by the large, clear spots that permit light to shine through the leaf. As prey moves along the corkscrew path down towards a light patch, thousands of fine, densely-packed hairs guide the unfortunate victim ever deeper towards the digestive organs. There is no escape.

Modern evolutionary biologists theorize that carnivory in plants arose six different times in five separate orders of plants (a scenario called convergence). It strains credulity to think that one such intricate mechanism formed all on its own. It becomes absurd to believe this happened along by chance several different times!

Posted on December 1, 2016 by dwoetzel.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *