Information on Carnivorous Plants

Overview

Carnivorous plants possess mechanisms that allow them to trap and digest small insects and other prey. They are among the most curious and interesting things in the plant world.

Structure

Carnivorous plants are like other plants, with root systems, leaves and flowers. They also use photosynthesis to get their food.

Evolution

Because carnivorous plants grow in areas where the soil lacks nutrients, they have adapted to trap insects as an additional food source.

Prey

Insects and other arthropods are usually on the menu, although some of the bigger plants can consume items as large as a small lizard or bird.

Types

Some, such as the pitcher plant, catch insects passively with leaves that hold water. prey fall in and drown. Others, including the Venus flytrap, actively catch their prey with specialized leaves that, when touched, fold around an insect, trapping it.

Digestion

Once an insect is trapped, carnivorous plants produce digestive enzymes to break down the prey so the plant can absorb it.

Size

Some may wonder if carnivorous plants can eat people. It's impossible. They are all too small to be dangerous. The largest traps of these plants is less than 2 feet tall.

References

  • The Carnivorous Plant FAQ - The International Carnivorous Plant Society
  • Wayne's Word on Carnivorous Plants

Who Can Help

  • BBC: Venus Fly Trap--The Private Life of Plants
Keywords: sundew, venus fly trap, pitcher plant

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.