Carnivorous Plants

P.Tamizhmuhil Neelamegam

We all know that plants prepare their food by the process called Photosynthesis. But there are certain plants which depend on living organisms for their livelihood.Such plants are called Carnivorous Plants.

Carnivorous Plants are the plants which capture, kill and digest the insects and other small organisms.These carnivorous plants live in a soil that is deficient in Nutrients.So,they supplement their diet with nutrients obtained by digesting the  insects. These plants have some specialized leaves or flowers or tentacles to capture the prey and digest them.

A plant is said to be carnivore, if they possess the following characteristics:

  • The plant must have certain adaption to capture the prey. For example, a trap.
  • The plant should be able to digest the prey. It may produce certain digestive enzymes or it may rely on certain bacteria or other organisms for digestion.
  • The plant must be able to absorb the nutrients and it should be benefited by them.

The Plants must possess certain adaptations to capture the prey.The adaptations include trap type and certain modifications in the trap that improve the efficiency of the plant in prey capture.The trapping mechanism always involves certain leaf modifications, in which the leaves acts as a trap.

The different trap types include

  • Pitfall traps
  • Sticky traps
  • Lobster pot traps
  • Suction traps
  • Snap traps

Certain examples for the modifications that improve the efficiency may include

  • The plant may produce an attractive smell
  • The trap will be more attractive and colorful
  • The surface of the trap may be waxy or slippery
  • The insects may get stuck to the hairs present
  • The trap fluids may be sticky
  • The plant may produce nectar which tempts the prey

Sundew, Pitcher plant/Nepenthes,Butterworts are certain examples of carnivorous plants.

To be continued….

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