Did you know that there are 18 species of carnivorous plants native to Canada? Whether it’s pitcher plants or sundews, butterworts or bladderworts, each pack a mean (and green) bite!
Snaring strategies differ. Purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), for example, use a pitfall trap. The plant contains a cavity filled with a liquid made up of enzymes and microorganisms. When something small and tasty falls into the cavity, it effectively becomes trapped. The liquid’s enzymes and microorganisms eventually digest its contents.
Sundews (Drosera x obovata) and butterworts (Pinguicula vulgaris), on the other hand, use a sticky trap. The plants’ leaves are coated with a gummy fluid that lures, then traps, invertebrates. The plants’ leaves then fold around the invertebrates, further ensnaring them. From there, it’s game over for the unlucky insect.
Bladderworts (Utricularia) do things a little differently. A primarily aquatic species, the plant contains an air-filled cavity with a hair-covered trap door. Acting as a lever, when an animal touches the plant’s hairs a mechanically-triggered trap door springs open and sucks the animal and surrounding water into its trap. Once inside, the plant pumps out the excess water and its prey is dissolved by digestive secretions.