Saturday, August 6, 2011
There really is something a bit spooky about plants that eat something other than sunlight. Plants that jump up the food chain seem sort of science-fictiony.
Fantastic costume and performance art routine by the Queen of Sass, Crystal Precious. Photo courtesy of Your Minds Eye photography.
There is probably no better known carnivorous plant than Audrey II (of Little Shop of Horrors fame), who needs human blood to survive.
Of course man-eating plants don't actually exist, but other carnivorous plants fond of smaller prey do. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the venus flytrap, which is only found naturally in small area of the Southeastern USA. But did you know there are several species of carnivorous plants (OK, insectivorous, to be more accurate) living in Northern BC?
The sundew (Drosera species) is a large genus of carnivorous plants, and has species distributed more or less worldwide (with the exception of Antarctica). Despite the wide distribution they are not exactly a common sight, and as a plant-nerd I have always been on the lookout for the some-what evasive sundew and a few weeks ago, finally found some!
This is Drosera rotundifolia, round-leaved sundew, with prey. I found it on the edge of Tasse Lake, which is East of Williams Lake, BC. These plants typically grow in nutrient poor, acidic, wet soils, and like full sunlight. They evolved their insectivorous tendencies to compensate for a lack of nutrients in the soils. According to SARA no sundews in BC are threatened or endangered, although there is a species in Nova Scotia that is endangered as a result of peat mining and cranberry farming.
Besides being a great inspiration for performance arts (as mentioned above), carnivorous plants have been muse to the visual arts as well:
A sundew inspired print from Naomi Mayhue.
This beautiful print by nouvellegamine.
And how about this ink by Coniah Timm?
Next time you are out tromping around in your favorite swamp, keep your eyes peeled; you may find some carnivorous plants too!