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Carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants are predatory flowering plants that kill animals in order to derive nutrition from their bodies. They share three attributes that operate together and separate them from other plants.

These plants obtain some nutrients by trapping and digesting various invertebrates, and occasionally even small frogs and mammals. Because insects are one of the most common prey items for most carnivorous plants, they are sometimes called insectivorous plants. It is not surprising that the most common habitat for these plants is in bogs and fens, where nutrient concentrations are low but water and sunshine seasonally abundant.

• Carnivorous plants:

1. Capture and kill prey
2. Have a mechanism to facilitate digestion of the prey
3. Derive a significant benefit from nutrients assimilated from the prey

Traps work in a variety of ways.
Pitfall traps of pitcher plants are leaves folded into deep, slippery pools filled with digestive enzymes.
Flypaper (or sticky or adhesive traps) of sundews and butterworts are leaves covered in stalked glands that exude sticky mucilage.
Snap traps (or steel traps) of the Venus flytrap and waterwheel plant are hinged leaves that snap shut when trigger hairs are touched.
Suction traps, unique to bladderworts, are highly modified leaves in the shape of a bladder with a hinged door lined with trigger hairs.
Lobster-pot traps of corkscrew plants are twisted tubular channels lined with hairs and glands.

Practice question:

1. Carnivorous plants get which of the following nutrient by trapping insects?

a) Carbon

b) Nitrogen

c) Hydrogen

d) Calcium

Ans: b


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