Carnivorous Plants In India
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see flowers; beautiful, colourful and pleasant?Do Carnivorous plants look innocent to you; wait innocent? You might want to rethink these adjectives that pop up in your mind for flowers or plants as these splendid creations of nature do make your garden look very pretty, but there are a heaping handful of these gorgeous little things that are actually vicious killers with zero remorse. Surprised? Read on for we introduce you to the top four flowers/plants with lethal tendencies that one can find in India.
This is the largest genus of carnivorous plants that one can find, with more than 200 species occurring throughout the world. It is a plant festooned with utricles or little bag-like bladders and thus is named utricularia. The little bladders in these plants are actually the carnivorous traps or the suction traps. The flowers of these Carnivorous plants are usually very small with a wild &varied display of colours and form. These Carnivorous plants have multiple habitats in fresh water and wet soils; from lakes to streams to waterlogged soils, the surfaces in trees, seasonally moist desert; just about every imaginable place where plant carnivore can be an advantage.Utricularias mostly prey on worms, frogs, mosquitoes, scuds, flies, fleas and even amoebas. The carnivorous flowers action in these plants usually happens underwater or underground in the water soaked medium. Creepy, isn’t it?
Commonly known as Sundews, Drosera is a sticky flypaper Carnivorous plant that bears long tentacles on its leaves. These stalks are tipped with brightly coloured glands. The glandular leaf hair of these plants glistens like dew in the sun and that is where these plants derive their name from. As soon as any insect lands on these leaves, it sticks to them and these leaves coil around their prey to slowly digest it. More than 180 species of Drosera could be easily found around the world in bogs, on sandy banks or other mineral soils that are poor in organic nitrogen and phosphorus. Drosera feeds on fungus gnats, ants, crickets, spiders, bloodworms, fruit flies etc. Did you just lose your appetite?
Nepenthes is undoubtedly the most glorious and spectacular genus of carnivorous plants in India. With almost 90 species available throughout, these Carnivorous plants form wonderful hanging pitchers and their carnivorous traps are hungry looking maws that look every bit dangerous. This Carnivorous plant mostly relies on its pool of water to trap its prey. The cup like pitchers of these plants lures the prey by a combination of decaying odors and sometimes a red coloration. Once inside the pitcher, the prey fails to get a grip on the interior walls of this Carnivorous plant because of the flaky wax on them, falls into the water and hence is digested. These can be easily grown in a greenhouse, sun room or under lights, and have a tendency to climb into/above surrounding vegetation. Unlike other carnivorous plants, besides insects, gnaws and flies Nepenthes feeds on mice and frogs too. Downright gross, right?
Also known as Butterworts, Pinguicula is mostly grown for their pretty orchid-like flowers. These are the most un-carnivorous looking carnivorous plants courtesy their pretty appearance. The leaves of these plants emit a faintly fungal scent that attracts prey which gets stuck to the glandular surface of the leaves which then drowns in the moist pool of slime and is indeed digested. The leaf surface of these plants has two types of glands, stalked and sessile. The stalked glands capture prey by sticking it to them and the sessile glands release fluid loaded with digestive enzymes that do the bulk of digestion. Silent pretty killers! These plants grow in nutrient-poor, alkaline soils and feed on insects.
Who knew even flowers or plants could be so vicious and conniving! Not all the flowers are sweet and every plant certainly is not just an innocent green little thing that silently adds to the environment. Even these bright and beautiful gifts of nature have a dark side to them and we know it!