Friday, July 22, 2011

The bloom of a carnivorus plant

Posted by Kirk
This week I took my photography camp kids down to the bog and was delighted to see the sundew flowers were blooming. They are so small you'd be forgiven if you missed them.

Sundew is a fascinating plant. It is often called a carnivorous plant though insectivorous may be more appropriate. The dazzling drops at the tips of the leaves draw in insects who discover too late that the drops are extremely sticky. The drops are a mucilage that serves two functions. It both traps and digests the insects. Enzymes in the mucilage digest the insect and the nutrients are absorbed into the leaves. The leaves are only about one centimeter across and easy to miss. Look for this amazing plant next time you are in a bog.

A question comes to mind though looking at the flower. While it isn't terribly showy I'm guessing the plant is insect pollinated. Is there a danger of trapping pollinators on the leaves and having them not pollinate the flower? A little research online shows that sundew are pollinated by species other than their target prey species and there is little overlap so the leaves and flowers are not working at cross purposes. Fascinating.



Emily Brisse said...

Beautiful photos and interesting details. Great post!

Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Those are such beautiful little blooms.