In butterworts (Pinguicula) sticky leaf surfaces act as flypaper to trap prey; in sundews (Drosera) sticky, long-stalked glands serve the same function, then bend inwards to enfold the victim.
Carnivorous PlantsCarnivorous Plants are flowering PLANTS of worldwide distribution with leaves adapted for trapping small ANIMALS, especially INSECTS. Pitcher plants (genera Nepenthes,Sarracenia,Darlingtonia,Cephalotus) have open, water-filled traps that act as pitfalls for insects attracted by nectar around the rim of the pitchers.
In butterworts (Pinguicula) sticky leaf surfaces act as flypaper to trap prey; in sundews (Drosera) sticky, long-stalked glands serve the same function, then bend inwards to enfold the victim. Aquatic bladderworts (Utricularia) have numerous tiny submerged bladders, each with a trap door that springs open when trigger hairs around it are touched by a potential victim. The minute animal is then carried inside by the rush of water. Once trapped, the animal is digested by enzyme secretions or decomposed by micro-organisms. Its remains release soluble organic molecules (eg, amino acids) that supplement nutrients in short supply in the plant's habitat.
Worldwide, about 500 species have been described and classified; 18 species occur in Canada, among them a single species of PITCHER PLANT (Sarracenia purpurea), common in bogs across Canada, 2 butterworts and several species of sundew. One of the best-known carnivorous plants, the Venus flytrap, occurs naturally only in coastal habitats of North and South Carolina in the US.