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10 April 2008 @ 06:40 pm
LOLPlants, Take 2  
And while we're at it, a special occasion out here at the Texas Triffid Ranch. I'm a firm advocate of everyone choosing a Drosera adelae sundew as their first carnivorous plant: they're very easy to maintain, they thrive in much lower light levels than most carnivores (thus making them great desk terrarium candidates, and they produce beautiful wide leaves that just glow when glistening with dew at the tips of the trapping tentacles. However, I'd never been able to get them to bloom, until this one decided to throw out a couple of bloom spikes.

In this case, this D. adelae helps answer a very important question that everyone asks me about carnivorous plant flowers: "Why don't they eat their pollinators?" That is a very, VERY good question, and one that I never downplay, because any carnivore that captured its potential pollinators had either best depend upon wind pollination or find a way around its dilemma. Many, such as Sarracenia pitcher plants, produce flowers before they produce traps, thereby guaranteeing that local bees and wasps that come for the nectar and pollen don't end up in a trap afterwards. (After blooming season is done, though, the plant is perfectly happy to digest any wasps or bees that get drunk on nectar secreted by the traps and fall in.) Others, such as sundews and the butterwort shown previously, have different attractants. In both cases, and also with triggerplants, the blooms are intended to attract larger prey than anything the trapping surfaces can handle, and the traps also go for a different type of prey. By the main plant lying low to the ground and the flower on its scape, the leaves capture mosquitos and fungus gnats, while the flowers draw bees, moths, and hummingbirds. (In fact, Peter D'Amato at California Carnivores has so many hummingbirds pollinating his butterworts that he just sows the resultant hybrid seed and sells the plants as "Hummingbird Food".)

I'll also note that D. adelae doesn't have an incredibly strong mucilage on its tentacles, so anything larger than an ant or a fruit fly can usually work its way loose. If something larger were to fall into the leaves, though, it probably wouldn't complain.
physics of a bicycle, isn't it remarkable?bicyclephysics on April 11th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
ProverbialUnrestprverbialunrest on April 12th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
LOL that's awesome!