Insect-catching Plants, particularly of Cape Cod by Dr. Henry K. Svenson

Most people have an acquaintance with the carnivorous plants, ordinarily¬†called “insectivorous plants”, since the subject is included in all textbooks that deal with natural history. Few plants have been so attractive to sensational fiction writers, but the man-eating kinds exist purely in the imagination. Most of them are small terrestrial plants of boggy or sandy places, but some Asiatic pitcher plants (Nepenthaceae) climb or are bush-like. All have normal chlorophyll in stems and leaves; in addition there are adaptations for trapping insects, spiders, and other small creatures. Only in nutritionally poor environments is there need of additional protein, and the plants get along without it over long periods.

About 500 species of canivorous plants occur in six unrelated families over nearly all parts of the world, but they have greatest diversity in the tropics. As to methods of trapping insects, the plants found in eastern United States fall into three groups.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements