It’s not just any plant. And we don’t say it because of the way they eat. Researchers from the USA and Canada have discovered a new carnivorous plant in western North America. But this flower “bites the hand that feeds it”. And it catches pollinating insects.
The genus to which the plant belongs was baptized as Triantha. C.Pray in wet and swampy areas from Alaska to California and Montana. They catch small insects with their sticky hair-covered flowers.
It is the twelfth known independent evolution of a carnivorous plant. But it is the first thing that is discovered in the order Alismatales. But that wasn’t what surprised scientists the most. Rather, it traps insects near its own pollinated flowers.
“This may seem like a conflict between carnivores and pollination. You don’t want to kill the insects that will help you reproduce. Says one of the study’s authors, Qianshi Lin Es from the University of British Columbia.
Paradoxically, it doesn’t catch bees or butterflies. What is this phenomenon due to? For larger insects, the plant’s flowers are just not sticky enough. This offsets the capture of prey and pollination.
Looking for relatives
This occurs in habitats where nutrients alone are “limiting”. Insects are an excellent source of minerals that the soil is lacking.
During the study, the scientists fed the Triantha Syria. They gave him flies labeled with the nitrogen-15 isotope so that he could track him down. The plant has absorbed about 64% of the nutrients from the insects. It digests its prey with the help of an enzyme called phosphatase. It breaks down nutrients that contain phosphorus. Other carnivorous plants first put them in a basin of water to soften them.
Researchers who have discovered a new carnivorous plant have other plans. You will be looking for other carnivorous plants of the species Triantha. “It is likely that there are other members of this group who will turn out to be carnivores,” said Tom Givnish of the University of Washington at Madison.