Ten Plants That Put Meat on Their Plates
In addition to the well-known Venus flytrap, many other plant species feed on bugs or crustaceans
- By Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian.com, January 08, 2010
(Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England)
A new study led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England has suggested that plant carnivory may be “far more common than previously held because of many species being subtly carnivorous.” Scientists searching for carnivorous plants may want to look at the Solanaceae family, which includes the familiar petunia. A scientist in the early 20th century demonstrated that two species of petunia produce digestive enzymes, though he was unable to find evidence that the plants absorbed a meal. The leaves of the wild potato also secrete enzymes. And Charles Darwin showed in the late 19th century that the tobacco plant, another member of this family, is covered with hairs that catch insects.