Carnivorous Plants Part 1: Pitfalls and Flypaper

Many plants that grow in nutrient poor environments need to develop a method of obtaining the nutrients they need. Now, since plants can’t just get up and move to find their nutrients they have to get them where they are. This has lead to the development of five methods for catching prey, which usually consist of small arthropods, such as insects. Pitfall traps are the trapping mechanism of pitcher plants. Insects land on the smooth walls of the pitcher and fall into a small pool of digestive fluid where they are broken down into the nutrients the plant needs. Flypaper traps are based on a sticky digestive fluid, which holds insects in place while they are dissolved. Some sundews wrap around their prey to facilitate this process. Tomorrow will involve the snapping traps, bladder traps and lobster-pot traps.

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