Carnivorous Plants Story
Picture book for a young audience /
Copyright (c) 2013-2017 by Makoto Honda.
All Rights Reserved.
A leaf of a
sundew (Drosera intermedia) with a prey. Note the very active tentacle
bending as well as leaf folding in response to prey capture..
leaf is covered with fine hairs tipped with a sticky glue. These hairs are
called tentacles. A gland at the tentacle tip secretes a crystal-clear mucilage
to entrap prey.
tentacles (left) tipped with a sticky mucilage (Drosera filiformis), and
a tentacle of a sundew (Drosera intermedia).
section of an African sundew (Drosera capensis). The "central tentacles"
are the shortest tentacles in the leaf center. The "marginal tentacles" are the
longest tentacles growing on the leaf margin. Between these two tentacle groups
grow the "outer tentacles."
crystal-clear droplet of mucilage enveloping the gland at the tip of a slender
stalk of a sundew tentacle (Drosera filiformis).
When an insect lands on a sundew leaf, it
immediately becomes mired in the sticky mucilage. As the insect struggles to
escape, nearby tentacles also begin to bend toward the prey. Although the
movement of the tentacles is rather slow - often taking a few minutes or more to
bend over the trapped prey - there is no doubt the flexing tentacles greatly
improve the sundew's chance of a successful catch.
slightest brush with a glue-holding tentacle leads to a deadly consequence. A
mosquito is being caught by its legs. In May, in northern California.
common, round-leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) securing a meal for the
day, in northern California, in May. Note that many flexing tentacles are
holding the prey firmly in the center of the leaf where the body of the bug is
struggling to free itself from the tenacious hold of a linear-leaved sundew (Drosera
linearis) in a Michigan fen along the shore of Lake Huron. In early July.
struggling to free itself from a linear-leaved sundew (Drosera linearis).
A crane fly
falls victim to the powerful grip of a round-leaf sundew (Drosera
rotundifolia), in northern California, in June.
In many sundews, when a large prey is
captured, the entire leaf also slowly folds around the prey. This movement of
leaves and tentacles brings more glands in contact with the prey. After a few
hours, the glands on the tentacle tip begin to produce digestive fluids. As the
insect body begins to dissolve, the nutrients are promptly absorbed through the
leaf and are carried to other parts of the plant.
linear-leaved sundew, Drosera linearis, showing a voracious appetite for
insect life in a marl fen in northern Michigan, in early July. Note many flexing
leaves capturing small insect prey.
In a typical natural habitat, many sundews
grow together, often covering a large area of marshy surface. This is very much
to their advantage, because in these situations, insects such as butterflies and
dragonflies - that are usually too large for a single sundew to capture - are
often successfully contained by the cooperation of many sundews, each grabbing a
part of the insect body.
crane fly landing on the dense cover of the round-leaf sundew (Drosera
rotundifolia) in northern California. In August.
A sundew (Drosera
intermedia) capturing a small fly.
A sundew (Drosera
intermedia) capturing a small fly. From top-left: 5 minutes after the
capture; 10 minutes; 15 minutes; 20 minutes (lower-right).
In the spring, a slender flower stem appears
in the rosette center. The flowers of sundews are generally small. The flowering
season lasts from spring to the end of summer in U.S. habitats.
flowers bloom amidst the jungle of sticky, glandular hairs. The pollinators must
fly their way very carefully to the flowers. A small navigational error may
spell disaster for the pollinator resulting in dire consequences. In Oregon, in
glandular leaves of the English sundew, Drosera anglica, in Oregon, in
mid-July. Note a bright red color of the tentacles covering the leaf surface.
flower of the thread-leaf sundew, Drosera filiformis. The large, pink
flower measures up to 4 cm in diameter.
Drosera capillaris plants atop slender flower stalks. The leaves of the
plants are hidden in the surrounding vegetation. In Florida, in May
flower of Drosera capillaris (left) in Florida, in May. A seed capsule on
the flower stalk (right) of a sundew (Drosera intermedia). Note the
numerous black seeds in the dry capsule about to burst. In mid-July, in southern
PITFALL TRAPS FLYPAPER
SUCTION TRAPS VENUS
PITCHER PLANTS COBRA
Plants Story - Copyrighted Material
Copyright (c) 2013 by Makoto Honda. All Rights Reserved.
a young audience, click
"Eaten Alive by Carnivorous Plants" by Kathleen J. Honda & Makoto Honda