Carnivorous plant

Definition

noun, plural: carnivorous plants

Any of the plants that are modified to capture and consume animals or protozoans


Supplement

Carnivorous plants are plants that are unrelated but are same in the manner that they have modified plant parts they use to capture and consume animals or protozoans. Most plants are autotrophic, which means they are capable of producing their own food especially through photosynthesis. The ability to manufacture food by capturing photons from light energy through photosynthetic pigments (e.g. chlorophyll) makes them distinct from animals that consume plants and/or another animal for food. However, carnivorous plants are also characterized by their ability to derive nourishment by feeding upon another living thing, typically insects and other arthropods.

Some of the common trapping mechanisms employed by carnivorous plants include pitfall traps, snap traps, sticky fly traps, bladder traps, and hairy, enticing traps. The pitcher plants (e.g. Darlingtonia, Heliamphora, Sarracenia, Nepenthes, Cephalotus, and Paepalanthus) make use of pitfall traps to entrap prey. They have a modified leaf that is rolled forming a container with a pool of digestive enzymes. As for the snap-trapping carnivorous plants, such as the Venus flytrap and the waterwheel plants, they have a modified leaf that snaps when capturing prey. The genera Pinguicula, Drosera, and Drosophyllum use flypaper traps. This trapping mechanism employs a modified leaf studded with glands that secrete mucilage. The bladderworts (Utricularia) employ bladder traps that can suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum. The hairy traps of corkscrew plants (Genlisea) are modified leaves that have inward-pointing hairs, which force the prey towards the digestive organ of the plant.


See also:

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