The idea that the representatives of the flora inhabiting our planet serve as food for herbivores, reptiles and insects is firmly rooted in human consciousness. A large proportion of them in the human diet. But there are such types of carnivorous plants that do not wait for them to be eaten, but they themselves are not averse to eat live organisms.
The reason for the carnivorous plants
Almost everything that grows from the earth, feeds on its juices. To do this, they have a root system, often very branched, through which the nutrients enter the stem, and then are absorbed, turning into wood, fiber, leaves, and sometimes beautiful inflorescences pleasing the eye. The better the soil, the more possibilities. This applies to all types of flora, from grass to huge sequoias. Unfortunately, climatic diversity does not always contribute to the growth and survival of biological objects. The earth is not everywhere fertile. So we have to adapt, not only to people, but to all the rest of our space satellites. After all, in essence, we are flying in space, surrounded by a dead vacuum, and our world has become alive because we have air, water, heat, and much more, which is extremely necessary. Carnivorous plants feed on creatures that are on the evolutionary ladder above them, not because of innate cruelty, they have to extract the substances necessary for their livelihood because they have nowhere to take them.
Food for predatory flowers are mainly insects. They rarely sit down on everything, except a little rest. Ghost bugs are also constantly looking for what to profit, such is the fate of all living beings on the planet. Of course, insectivorous plants could simply wait for a successful event, but then most of them would hardly have survived. Therefore, they take the initiative on the same principle as people who claim that luck is in their hands. In the absence of limbs, the predator plant uses the organs at its disposal, namely the leaves and flowers. It is possible to attract capricious insects with the scent, color and beauty that bears chamomiles, poppies or daffodils to captivate bees and butterflies, with the only difference being that they must be more seductive, at least from the point of view of insects.
Plant digestion mechanism
And here the gullible insect sits on a predator plant in the hope of eating nectar. The leaf structure contains traps that are divided by functional load on the bait and grabs. Organs of various shapes (for example, in the form of cilia, as in sarration, or jugs of water, which nepentes lures their victims), are capable of attracting insects. The main thing that the insect flew closer, was convinced that he was offered an unprecedented treat, and made a fatal landing for themselves. After that, the predator plant uses hairs that firmly hold the victim for the time necessary for the leaves or petals to close, blocking the path to escape. Hope for salvation is no more. By isolating specific enzymes, an insect is killed, its vital juices, containing beneficial substances (nitrogen, phosphorus, alkali metal salts, etc.), are transferred to the tissues of the killer flower. What remains is that it is impossible to digest - chitin shells.
Sarratsenia - the evil queen
She comes from the New World. Lives mainly in the southern part of North America, although it is found in Canada, but less often. This predator plant uses special leaves to hunt, also called hunters, like a funnel with a hood-hood. This cover protects the hole, from which the seductive smell of insects spreads, from rain and excessive diffusion of the secretion fluid resembling nectar. The composition of the bait sarratsenii also includes a substance that has a relaxing effect on the victims, similar to the narcotic effect. The surface of the sheet is smooth and slippery. Under the spell of the sweet smell of bugs or flies themselves tend to get into this terrible funnel, from which there is no escape. Falling inside, the victims are digested and dissolved by protease and other caustic enzymes.
Who can eat nepentes?
If by the beauty of sarracenia, it is possible that it ranks first among insectivorous flowers, then in terms of size, the priority rightfully belongs to nepentes, the inhabitant of the South Pacific region. He lives in Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, China, India, as well as in the Philippines, Seychelles, Madagascar, Sumatra and the island of Borneo. Local primates use this plant as a source of water in the heat, so its other name is “monkey cup”. The leaves of nepentes resemble a water lily, they are connected with long stems, like those of vines. The lure is plentiful, it can be more or less sticky. The unfortunate insects fall into this liquid, drown in it, and then dissolve. Most of the types of nepentes have very moderate sizes, but among them there are true giants. It is not only insectivorous plants. Photos of Nepenthes Rajah or Nepenthes Rafflesiana, with the appetite of eating birds, mice and even rats, make an indelible impression. Fortunately, for larger mammals and humans, they are not dangerous.
Genlisea and her claw
Carnivorous plants live in Africa. On the “Black Continent” there are over two dozen species of rather beautiful yellow flower of the genliseus. It is widespread in South America. With its asymmetrical shape, Genlisea resembles a claw of a crab, which is easy to hit, but almost impossible to break out. The fact is that the hairs growing on its inner surface are arranged in a spiral, and their direction prevents the reverse movement. At the same time, the hunt for all life is conducted not only above the earth's surface (this is the case of the photosynthetic outer leaves), but also in the ground, where microorganisms are sucked in with the soil waters through hollow tubes, which are also spiral-shaped. Digestion of food occurs directly in the channels of its receipt.
Color Hallucinations of California Darlington
Insectivorous plants amaze with a variety of methods of misleading their victims. So, Darlington Californian, which hunts near rivers, lakes and springs with cool water, has the shape of a bulb. In the center of this miracle of nature is a hole with two fanged leaves, rather sharp. Darlingtonia itself lives under water. Its difference is that it does not use leaves for fishing, insects get inside it through a “crab claw”, an asymmetrical petal. But the main catch lies in the color disorientation of the victim, achieved by the multitude of light-shadow transitions into which the insect plunges, once inside. These insectivorous plants simply drive their victims crazy with the help of specks on the light-conducting sheath, and they can no longer understand where the top is and where the bottom is. In addition, the hairs give them the right direction.
A unique bubble trap is characteristic of a plant with the sonorous name Utricularia. It is small, the largest of the bubbles reach a centimeter or a little more. Accordingly, the prey is modest; the pemphigus is saturated with tadpoles and water fleas. But the variety and range are impressive. There are more than two hundred species, and you can meet this predator almost everywhere, except perhaps the tundra or Antarctica. Unusual and technique used when hunting. Inside the bubbles they produce a small vacuum, and the flower, like a small vacuum cleaner, sucks the insects passing by along with the water. It happens very quickly, the whole process from opening the trap hole to blocking it takes some microseconds.
Almost a complete analogue of the adhesive tape, which just a couple of decades ago in the summer hung from the ceiling almost every diner. True, Pinguicula, or Zhyryanka much more beautiful than those dark brown spirals from the past. Bright green or pink leaves on the outside are covered with two types of cells. The pedal glands, located closer to the stalk, produce mucus, containing glue, attracting smell, and at the same time reliably fixing insects. This is the very Velcro. The second type of cells is the so-called sessile gland. They belong directly to the digestive system and produce protease, esterase and amylase, that is, enzymes that decompose living organisms into useful components for the plant.
Some species of Zhiryanka for the winter are hiding under a dense rosette in order to re-blossom with the spring and continue their merciless hunt, dismissing carnivorous sticky leaves.
This predator lives in Australia. It’s hard to imagine beautiful mucus, but that’s the way to determine its surface. In the external appearance of the library, there is some similarity with the dewdrop, but it is a very special kind of carnivorous plant.
The cross section of the sheet is round; it is provided with a conical sharp end. The hairs growing on it emit a viscous substance of beautiful rainbow shades. Flowers are also not without aesthetic appeal and are equipped with five curved stamens. The mechanism of hunting is not very original. The insect sticks, as a rule, it is small. This is the end of it.
Aldrewda - floating trap
Bubble Aldrundus lives in water. She is a record holder in two nominations. First, it is a carnivorous creature (it is difficult to call it a flower, rather, some kind of alga) grows very quickly, almost a centimeter daily. This does not mean that the Aldrawanda will soon flood all tropical reservoirs. As quickly it lengthens, so quickly and shortened. The root of this plant is not, at one end it grows, and at the other dies.
The second unique feature of aldrovandy biologists believe its traps. They are quite small, up to three millimeters, but they are enough to catch small aquatic vertebrates, and to do so swiftly. The trap consists of two halves covered with hairs. The response time is measured in tens of milliseconds, which is a kind of speed record. Such a rapid movement of a living organism has no analogues.
But not only in exotic countries insectivorous plants live. Species that are common in the Far Eastern regions, Siberia and the European part of the Russian Federation (and there are three of them) can survive in the cold due to their ability to form reliably insulated buds. Having survived in winter, they come to life in the spring and begin to hunt for avid to tasty aromas of bugs and flies. An example is the predator plant sundew, whose range covers almost the entire temperate climatic zone in both the northern and southern hemispheres. After wintering, not very long shoots living for one year are knocked out of the buds. The leaves that grow on them, measuring approximately one centimeter, are covered with thin reddish hairs that emit droplets resembling dew (hence the name). Should I explain that it is this liquid sundew uses as bait? The first warm months of the hunt are different bugs, accidentally caught in the zone of action of the predator. Further hunting is more focused. In July, the flowering season begins, and insect pollinators become victims. Five-petal flowers are pretty beautiful, and look above the surface of the swamp like light clouds.
Despite the killer effect on insects, this plant serves man and is very useful for treating bronchitis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and even helps alleviate suffering in epileptic episodes.
Predators in the house
Useful qualities that plants that feed on the juices of insects killed by them, have found recognition among people. Predator houseplants have long become the desirable inhabitants of residential and office premises. Advantages, such as unpretentiousness, peculiar beauty and the ability to exterminate irrelevant living creatures, motivate the choice in their favor when making decisions, what kind of flowerpot to put on the window sill. The eternal scourge of all offices, offices, and sometimes houses or apartments - taking care of who will water the flowers. In the case of predatory representatives of the flora, it is not particularly necessary to worry, they can take care of themselves for a long time.
Catches flies and mosquitoes
To get rid of flies and mosquitoes or at least reduce their number of people help, along with sticky paper or insecticides, predatory plants help people. Venus flytrap scientifically called Dionee (Dionaea muscipula). Her homeland - the savanna of North America. Its size allows you to place vases and pots, even in conditions of constrained space. The flower is beautiful, white, with a pleasant aroma. The two doors look friendly and hospitable, only small teeth on their edge may suggest an ominous prospect for a fly, which it wants to sit at least on the edge of this shell. Dionea receives an inaudible signal from one of the three hairs placed in each trap — the flaps close. The main phase of the movement of the petals is swift and takes only one tenth of a second, which gives reason to consider the flycatcher rather a fly swatter. However, if the insect is small, it can still be saved by making its way through the still-existing cracks. In this case, the containment process is terminated, as is the entire digestive cycle, and in about a day the whole fly-catching system comes to its original combat position. But this happens infrequently. Sometimes it happens that two or three insects fall into the trap at the same time.
So the choice is made. The owner of the room is a rather busy person, perhaps he often goes on business trips, and capricious flowers do not suit him. All its requirements correspond only to cacti or predatory plants. A photo seen in a magazine, or an example of the successful coexistence of similar colors with familiar people, confirms the choice in favor of a flycatcher or a sundew. Coveted pot bought and put on the windowsill. What to do next?
Nothing at first. It is necessary to give the plant a habit in the new place and release a couple of new leaves. If there is perfect purity in the house, and there is no one to have a flower, you will have to feed it from time to time, and insects should be given alive, because it is their natural stirring that activates the entire nourishing process. For the same reason, it is not necessary to feed a predatory plant with human food like pieces of sausage or cheese. Such a diet will cause extremely unpleasant consequences, from the nasty stench to the complete death of the flower.
Insects are different, not everyone is willing to accept the role of a helpless victim. Other beetles are quite capable of literally gnawing out their right to life, having made a hole in a trap with their yellow wishbones. You should not experiment with especially thick-shelled insects, as well as with too large. Not everything that is larger is tastier, and the size of the victims should allow them to freely fit in the trap, and it is better if they are half the size of it. Overfeeding predatory plants is not recommended, it should be remembered about the harsh conditions in which they are accustomed to survive. Normal “portion” of flycatchers - up to three flies (and not a day, but for the whole summer). The appetite of sarration is less modest, but it does not exceed a dozen individuals.
In addition, traps have a limited "motor potential", for example, Venus "shells" are designed for no more than four methods of writing, and then die. If you download them all at the same time, soon the plant will simply have nothing to eat.
Special caution for fishing enthusiasts, who believe that their hobby guarantees the constant availability of suitable food. Bloodworm, rain or shaggy worms and other bait is good for fish, but the digestion of plants for all this abundance is not designed.
Any excessive eating is harmful to predatory flowers as well as people, it leads to decay. In winter, they do not need to be fed at all. So, a complete diet.
Carnivorous plants many times became the prototype of fantastic monsters that live in distant worlds. People like everything mysterious, they find a special charm in the predatory beauty characteristic of these wild and domestic flowers. And besides such a useful quality as the ability to exterminate annoying insects, flycatchers or sundews have another important advantage. They are just beautiful.
Sarracenia or the North American insectivorous plant is a genus of carnivorous plants that are found in the east coast regions of North America, in Texas, in the Great Lakes, in southeastern Canada, but most are only in southeastern states.
This plant uses lily trap leaves as a trap. The leaves of the plant turned into a funnel with a formation similar to a hood that grows above the opening, preventing the ingress of rainwater, which can dilute the digestive juices. Insects are attracted by color, smell and secretion, similar to nectar on the edge of a water lily. Скользкая поверхность и наркотическое вещество, окаймляющее нектар, способствуют тому, что насекомые падают внутрь, где они погибают и перевариваются протеазой и другими ферментами.
2. Непентес (Nepenthes)
Непентес, тропическое насекомоядное растение, это другой вид плотоядных растений с ловушкой, при которой используются ловчие листья в форме кувшинки. Существует около 130 видов этих растений, которые широко распространенны в Китае, Малайзии, Индонезии, на Филиппинах, Мадагаскаре, Сейшельских островах, в Австралии, Индии, Борнео и Суматре. Это растение также получило прозвище "обезьянья чашка"as researchers often observed monkeys drinking rainwater from them.
Most species of Nepentes are high creepers, about 10–15 meters, with a shallow root system. From the stem, leaves are often visible with a tendril, which protrudes from the tip of the leaf and is often used for climbing. At the end of the antenna, the water lily forms a small vessel, which then expands and forms a bowl.
A trap contains liquid excreted by a plant, which may have a watery or sticky structure, and in which insects that the plant eats drown. The lower part of the bowl contains glands that absorb and distribute nutrients. Most of the plants are small and they only catch insects, but large species such as Nepenthes Rafflesiana and Nepenthes Rajah, can catch small mammals such as rats.
3. Predatory plant genlisea (Genlisea)
Genlisea consists of 21 species, usually grows in a moist terrestrial and semi-aquatic environment and is common in Africa and Central and South America.
Genlisea is a small herb with yellow flowers that use a crab claw type trap. It is easy to get into such traps, but it is impossible to get out of them because of the small hairs that grow to the entrance or, as in this case, forward in a spiral.
These plants have two different types of leaves: photosynthetic leaves above the ground and special underground leaves that lure, catch and digest small organismssuch as the simplest. Underground leaves also play the role of roots, such as water absorption and attachment, since the plant itself does not have them. These underground leaves underground form hollow tubes that look like a spiral. Small microbes enter these tubes by means of a stream of water, but they cannot get out of them. When they get to the exit, they will already be overcooked.
4. Darlingtonia Californian (Darlingtonia Californica)
Darlingtonia Californian is the only member of the Darlingtonia genus that grows in northern California and Oregon. It grows in swamps and springs with cold running water and considered a rare plant.
Darlingtonia leaves have a bulbous shape and form a cavity with a hole under the bloated, like a balloon, structure and two sharp sheets that hang down like fangs.
Unlike many carnivorous plants, it does not use trap leaves for a trap, but uses a crab claw type trap. As soon as the insect is inside, they are confused by the specks of light that pass through the plant. They land in thousands of thick, thin hairs that grow inward. Insects may follow the hairs deep into the digestive organs, but cannot go back.
5. Pemphigus (Utricularia)
Pemphigus is a genus of carnivorous plants consisting of 220 species. They are found in fresh water or wet soil as terrestrial or aquatic species on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.
These are the only predatory plants that use bubble trap. Most species have very small traps into which they can catch very small prey, such as protozoa. Traps range from 0.2 mm to 1.2 cm, while larger traps fall into larger traps, such as water fleas or tadpoles.
Bubbles are under negative pressure in relation to the environment. The opening of the trap opens, sucks the insect and the surrounding water, closes the valve, and it all happens in thousandths of seconds.
6. Toaster (Pinguicula)
Zhiryanka belongs to the group of carnivorous plants that use sticky, glandular leaves to lure and digest insects. Nutrients derived from insects, complement the soil, poor in minerals. There are approximately 80 species of these plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Zhiryanki leaves are juicy and usually have a bright green or pink color. There are two special types of cells located on the upper side of the leaves. One is known as the peduncle and consists of secretory cells that are on top of a single stem cell. These cells produce mucus secretion that forms visible drops on the surface of the leaves and acts like sticky tape. Other cells are called sedentary glands, and they are located on the leaf surface, producing enzymes such as amylase, protease and esterase, which contribute to the digestive process. While many types of zhyryanok are carnivorous throughout the year, many types form a dense winter outlet that is not carnivorous. When summer comes, it blooms, and new carnivorous leaves appear.
7. Rosyanka (Drosera)
Rosyanka is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 194 species. They are found on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. The sundew can form basal or vertical sockets from 1 cm to 1 m in height and can live up to 50 years.
For dews are characteristic moving glandular tentacles, topped with sweet sticky secretions. When an insect lands on sticky tentacles, the plant begins to move the rest of the tentacles in the direction of the prey, in order to further trap it. Once the insect is trapped, the small sessile glands absorb it and the nutrients go to the plant to grow.
8. Biblis (Byblis)
Biblis or rainbow plant is a small species of carnivorous plants originally from Australia. Rainbow plant got its name for the attractive appearance of mucus that covers the leaves in the sun. Despite the fact that these plants look like sundews, they have nothing to do with the latter and are distinguished by zygomorphic flowers with five curved stamens.
Its leaves have a round section, and most often they are elongated and tapered at the end. The leaf surface is completely covered with glandular hairs that secrete a sticky mucous substance that serves as a trap for small insects sitting on the leaves or tentacles of the plant.
9. Aldrovenda vesicular (Aldrovanda vesiculosa)
Aldronda bladder is a magnificent rootless, carnivorous aquatic plant. It is usually feeds on small aquatic vertebrates using a trap trap.
The plant consists mainly of freely floating stems, which reach 6-11 cm in length. Leaves-traps, the size of 2-3 mm, grow in 5-9 curls in the center of the stem. Traps are attached to petioles that contain air, allowing the plant to float. It is a fast growing plant and it can reach 4-9 mm per day and in some cases produce a new curl every day. While the plant grows at one end, the other end gradually dies.
A plant trap consists of two lobes that slam like a trap. The holes of the trap are directed outward and covered with fine hairs that allow the trap to close around any victim that is close enough. The trap slams in tens of milliseconds, which is one example the fastest movement in the animal world.
10. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula)
The Venus flytrap is perhaps the most famous carnivorous plant that eats mainly insects and arachnids. This is a small plant with 4-7 leaves that grow from a short underground stem.
Its leaf plate is divided into two regions: flat, long, in the shape of a heart, capable of photosynthesis of the petiole and a pair of final lobes hanging from the main vein of the leaf, which form a trap. The inner surface of these lobes contains red pigment, and the edges secrete mucus.
The leaf lobes make a sharp movement, slamming shut when its sensory hairs are stimulated. The plant is so developed that it can distinguish living from non-living stimulus. Its leaves slam in 0.1 second. They are bordered with spiky cilia that keep prey. As soon as the victim is caught, the inner surface of the leaves is gradually stimulated, and the edges of the lobes grow and merge, closing the trap and creating a closed stomach, where the digestion of the prey occurs.