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Gardening hints

Fascinating facts about carnivorous plants
A venus fly trap in the wild.
A venus fly trap in the wild. / SUR
  • Carnivorous plants normally can't get all the nutrients they need from the soil

Most people are familiar with at least one carnivorous plant, the Venus Fly Trap made famous by Seymour's Audrey II in the Little Shop of Horrors. The Venus Fly Trap grows in boggy areas where the soil is short of nitrogen so the plant looks for another way of getting the nutrients it needs. Pitcher plants attract creatures looking for a drink. They fall in and are digested by the liquid in the 'cup'. Some of the biggest species can even digest rodents.

One of the Nepenthes species of Pitcher plants acts as a shrew's toilet; it provides a shrew sized perch and a supply of nectar the shrew can enjoy while doing its business. The plant extracts the nitrogen it needs from the faeces.

Sundews trap insects by slowly embracing them with sticky arms while they are feeding on the nectar. They then slowly digest the trapped prey at their leisure.