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  • Dionaea muscipula flower
    in ,

    Non-insect-eating insectivorous plant

    Probably the one thing one could guess about an insectivorous plant is that it ‘eats’ insects. Take for example one of the most iconic entomophagous botanics of them all, the Venus fly-trap (Dionaea muscipula). The clue’s clearly there in the name; it traps – and consumes – flies, i.e. insects. Yes, it does. But, first, […] More

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    Meet the meat-munching plants

    Carnivorous Plants: Physiology, ecology, and evolution edited by Aaron Ellison and Lubomír Adamec, 2017. Oxford University Press. Famously, Charles Darwin’s opinion of the Venus fly-trap is used to embrace his view of carnivorous plants generally as the ‘most wonderful plants in the world’ (Aaron Ellison and Nicholas Gotelli, Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 19–42, 2009; […] More

  • Wood anatomical sections of Nepenthaceae

    Evolution of a carnivorous plant’s wood anatomy

    Given the current pace of anthropogenic change, understanding plants’ evolutionary response to shifting abiotic conditions is vitally important. Schwallier et al. analyse the relationships between anatomical wood characters, habit, abiotic preference and phylogenetics. An extensive anatomical study of the iconic carnivorous plant genus Nepenthes is presented in counterpoint with an evolutionary perspective through character mapping […] More

  • Drosera / Sundew.

    Evolution of genome size and GC content in Droseraceae

    Previous studies have suggested that carnivory and holokinetic chromosomes might be associated with genome downsizing in plants. Veleba et al. analysed genome evolution in sundews (Droseraceae), a widespread genus that uniquely combines chromosomal holokinetics with carnivory, and their relatives to show that this trend is not universally true. An analysis of genomic parameters and their […] More

  • The trap of a pitcher plant

    Proteome analysis of digestive fluids in Nepenthes pitchers

    Carnivorous plants have developed pitcher modified leaves that can trap and digest various prey. These pitchers produce a digestive fluid composed of proteins, including hydrolytic enzymes. Using a proteomic approach on different Nepenthes species together with a transcriptomic analysis, Hehn et al. identified 20 proteins that have never been reported so far for these plants. […] More

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    Transcriptome and Genome of the Venus Flytrap

    Darwin was fascinated by the unusual adaptations of carnivorous plants during his often frustrating studies of the evolution of flowering plants, which he referred to as an ‘abominable mystery’. Darwin’s treatise on insectivorous plants noted that the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) was ‘one of the most wonderful of the world’. Studies of carnivorous plants have […] More

  • NoSuchThingAsAFish

    Return of the Killer Tomatoes

    My phone died, so I’m catching up with podcasts. One I listen to is by the people behind QI, No Such Thing As A Fish. This week’s episode, No Such Thing As A Killer Tomato, starts with a brief discussion of tomatoes. [soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /] Quite interesting, but not entirely right. […] More

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    The most efficient trap isn’t always the most deadly trap

    Pitchers plants are carnivorous. They catch small animals, usually insects to gain nutrients like Nitrogen. You’d expect that they’d evolve their traps to be as effective as possible. If an insect gets away, that’s one less meal, but that’s not what happens for Nepenthes rafflesiana N. rafflesiana is a plant that grows in sunny parts […] More

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    Carnivora Gardinum

    Carnivora Gardinum from chris field on Vimeo. A nice time-lapse video of carnivorous plants by Chris Field. More

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