I have chosen to do a project on Carnivorous Plants because they are, in my opinion the most fascinating type of plant. The ability to move freely, to some extent, is an ability which many Carnivorous plant's possess, and isn't one that many other plants have. Most other plants have roughly the same form of nourishment, photosynthesis. However Carnivorous Plant's usually grow in swampy areas, which receive heavy rains and remain waterlogged all year round. The soils in these areas are generally poor and lack nutrients. This is why these plants have adapted to supplement their diet by catching and digesting insects and other living creatures.
There are two types of traps produced by carnivorous plants. The first is called an active trap, which actually moves for it to catch its prey; an example of this type of trap is the Venus Flytrap. The passive trap does not move but catches it's prey by luring the insect onto the plant, or into the trap, an example of this type is the Pitcher plant.
Cephalotus is one of the most sought after carnivorous plants. It is an Australian pitcher plant of compact growth and has very colourful traps when grown in full sun. The plants grow naturally along the southern coast of Western Australia. They grow in constantly damp areas on the edges of swamps in peat/sand type soils. The plants grow in clusters in the partial shade of other taller plants and grasses.
Cephalotus grow from underground rhizomes. The plant grows two main forms of leaves, in spring; several non-carnivorous leaves are grown. These leaves are oval and are shiny green in colour. During the summer the pitchers start to develop, these are tiny at first then slowly swell and open up into a trap. This plant is an evergreen perennial that slows its growth in winter. The older leaves and pitchers die off as new ones form the following year. Flowers are produced in the summer on long stalks, which are pale green in colour. The pitchers grow to a length of about 4cm. They have guide hairs that lead an insect toward the open mouth. Nectar glands lure the prey, which are usually small ants toward the mouth of the pitcher, where they fall into the pool of digestive juices that lie at the bottom of the pitcher. The lid hangs over the mouth of the pitcher like a canopy; this may close if conditions become hot and dry to stop the evaporation of its digestive juices.
Drosera - "Sundews"
There are many different types of "Sundews" growing all over the world. They grow in all types of habitats and climates from the extreme cold of Siberia to the tropics of Brazil. The leaves come in many shapes and sizes that are covered in tiny tentacles with drops of sticky fluid on the tips that glistens in the sun like dew on the grass on a summers morning, which is why it is called "Sundew". Like most other carnivorous plants "Sundews" usually grow in wet swampy peat bogs with poor acid soils.
When an insect lands on the plant,...