Sunday, December 7, 2008

Carnivorous Plants

If you want to add a unique touch to your garden, carnivorous plants are bound to get attention. There are several interesting exotic species to consider, such as the ever popular Venus Flytrap or the Cobra plant. In areas that have high populations of bugs, they can lowers the amount of flies or other insects that bother you. The size of the plant you select will determine the amount of insects consumed, however, the entertainment they provide for both adults and children alike, is well worth the investment.

There are five different types of carnivorous plants. Of course the most popular and more widely known are the plants from the Venus Flytrap plant family. Snap traps rely on a mouth that close in around its pray, where the plant will eat whatever it catches.

Once an insect is captured, the plant closes its trap tightly around the meal and bathes it in digestive juices that dissolve the insect’s soft, inner parts. These traps rely on prey falling into the plant and them being unable to escape.

These plants range from colorful to bland, and do not have moving parts like their snap trap counterparts.

Flypaper traps are among some of the coolest carnivorous plants. These plants secrete a glue which traps and breaks down insects for nourishment. These carnivorous plants should be treated with caution in the home, as the secretions can cause agitation to the skin.

The only carnivorous plant with a true "trapdoor" is the remarkable bladderwort. These plants function through the osmosis of water to create a suction within the body of the plant. This causes the walls to squeeze inward and explains their slightly concave appearance. Bladderworts are more commonly found underwater than above ground, which is another distinct characteristic from other carnivorous plants.

Finally, the lobster pot traps are among some of the most unusual looking carnivorous plants that you can acquire, they function by giving insects an easy way to enter, but little chance of escape.

Corkscrew plants are interesting, in that, the inside of the plant mouth is filled with downward pointing obstructions, used to prevent it’s prey from escaping it’s grasp.

If you do not wish to have a true carnivorous plant in your garden, but would like something with similar characteristics, there are several related species you may want to consider. Some of these type of plants come from the Martyniaceae family, such as the Brocchinia Roridula. These plants lack one of the three required aspects, which is to attract, kill and digest prey, to be classified as a true carnivorous plant.

Carnivorous plants should be placed where young children and babies cannot reach them. Even though they are considered relatively harmless to humans, the type of digestive enzymes they produce to break down their captured prey, should be avoided.

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