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Capsella bursa-pastoris, better known as shepherd’s purse, is the second most common on the planet. Even though it’s native to Asia Minor and Eastern Europe, it has been naturalized in many other parts of the world, particularly in regions with colder climates. It’s suspected that Capsella bursa-pastoris is a protocarnivorous plant. The suspicion arose from observing the plant’s seeds, which contain a substance called mucilage. When wet, mucilage becomes sticky. Mosquito larvae were extremely attracted to the seeds.
Genlisea are corkscrew plants which can be found in wet terrestrial and semi-aquatic environments throughout South America, Central America and Africa. The underground leaves of the Genlisea are very different from their photosynthetic leaves, which are located above ground. Aside from performing the duties of roots, like anchoring the plant or absorbing water, these highly modified leaves are also used to attract small organisms.
Darlingtonia californica, or the cobra lily, is the only member of the Darlingtonia genus. It’s found in bogs and seeps with cold running water in Oregon and Northern California. The plant somewhat resembles a rearing cobra, because of its tubular leaves and its forked leaf. It regulates the water levels inside by absorbing or releasing the water that’s been pumped up from the roots. The light speckles that shine through the leaves effectively act as false exits.
In bright sunshine, Byblis leaves gain an attractive, multicolored appearance, which is why they’re also known as rainbow plants. For a long time, their status as carnivorous plants was doubted. Glandular hairs cover the surface of their leaves, which secrete a thick, gluey substance from their tip. The assumption being they then absorbed the nutrients through their leaves. However, in 2005 it was discovered that the plants also possessed sessile glands, which produced the enzymes required for direct digestion.
There are only about 50 populations of Aldrovanda vesiculosa that have remained in the world. Aldrovanda vesiculosa obtains the nutrients it needs by trapping small aquatic invertebrates. It only takes 10 to 20 milliseconds for it to close, which makes it the fastest example of plant movement in the natural world. In optimal conditions, the fast-growing Aldrovanda vesiculosa will produce a new whorl every day.
This genus is indigenous to southeastern Canada, Texas and the Great Lakes area. Its leaves have evolved into a funnel, with a hood-like structure, called operculum, over the opening. The operculum prevents insects from escaping and protects the plant’s digestive enzymes from mixing with rainwater. Insects are attracted by smell, color and a nectar-like secretion on the lip of the pitcher. The waxy deposits on the lip makes insects lose their footing and tumble inside the pitcher. In some Sarracenia species, the operculum features chlorophyll-free patches that act like translucent windows, which confuse insects. Some will try to fly through the operculum, which caused them to fall in the pitcher.
With at least 194 confirmed species, Drosera is one of the largest carnivorous plant families on the planet. Also known as the sundews, these plants come in different species, which greatly vary in size and form. Sundews can be found on every continent, except Antarctica. Some display beautiful, vivid colors and intricate rosette shapes. The tentacle movement is quite remarkable and it only takes the slightest contact for it to start bending towards the insect. Drosera capensis can curl its leaf completely in about half an hour.
The Utricularia genus contains approximately 233 species of plants, collectively known as bladderworts. Except for Antarctica, bladderworts can be found in fresh water and wet soil all over the world. They occur as terrestrial or aquatic species and their flowers, which are often compared to those of orchids and snapdragons, make Utricularia a sought-after addition for collectors of plants.
Dionaea muscipula, also known as the Venus fly is the world’s most famous plant. It’s native to subtropical wetlands, in North Carolina and South Carolina, in the US. Dionaea muscipula is a small plant, with four to seven leaves, growing out of a subterranean stem. Once an insect makes contact with one of the hairs, it prepares to close.