Carnivorous plants: Non-Vegetarian Plants
April 26, 2016 | Blog, Uncategorized
Carnivorous plants: Non-Vegetarian Plants:-
Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients (but not energy) from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods. Carnivorous plants have adapted to grow in places with high light where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings. The conspicuous trapping mechanism, which is always a modified leaf, draws special attention to these plants. A variety of trapping mechanisms exist and are designated as active or passive based on whether they move to capture prey. Pitfall traps, such as those found in pitcher plants, are among the most common types of traps and employ a hollow, lidded leaf filled with liquid to passively collect and digest prey. Flypaper traps can be active or passive and rely on sticky mucilage, either directly on the leaf surface (butterworts) or on gland-tipped hairs (sundews), to capture prey. Snap traps, such as those of the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), use rapid leaf movements to actively ensnare insects. Bladder traps are only found in
bladderwort plants (genus Utricularia) and actively suck in small organisms using a partial vacuum. Lobster-pot traps, found predominantly in corkscrew plants (genus Genlisea), employ downward-pointing hairs to force prey deeper into the trap.
Using enzymes or bacteria, carnivorous plants digest their prey through a process of chemical breakdown analogous to digestion in animals. The end products, particularly nitrogenous compounds and salts, are absorbed by the plants to enable their survival under otherwise marginal or hostile environmental conditions. Most carnivorous species are green plants that manufacture food by photosynthesis from the raw materials of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide in the presence of chlorophyll. The carnivorous habit augments the diet derived from the poor soil of their environment.
The largest carnivorous plant family, Lentibulariaceae (order Lamiales), is marked by bilaterally symmetrical flowers with fused petals and only two anthers. This family has a fairly cosmopolitan distribution and comprises more than 300 species in three genera: the bladderworts (Utricularia, about 220 species), the butterworts (Pinguicula, about 80 species), and the corkscrew plants (Genlisea, about 22 species). Employing a variety of trapping mechanisms, members of that family are predominantly herbs of wet or aquatic habitats and prey on insects and other invertebrates.
A study published in 2009 by researchers from Tel Aviv University indicates that secretions produced by carnivorous plants contain compounds that have anti-fungal properties and may lead to the development of a new class of anti-fungal drugs that will be effective against infections that are resistant to current anti-fungal drugs.
Department of Biology
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