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Home / Nature - Plants / Chelsea Show / Carniverous (meat eating) plants including pitcher plants (Sarracemia) and Sundews (Drosera)
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Carniverous (meat eating) plants including pitcher plants (Sarracemia) and Sundews (Drosera)

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Sarracenia, from the Latin. purpurea, from the Latin, "purple". Common Name, from the unusual shape of the leaf and its capacity for holding water. Other common names include Common Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcher-Plant, Flytrap, Sidesaddle Plant, Huntsman's Cup, Frog's Britches

Taxonomy: Kingdom Plantae, the Plants Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons.
Subclass leniidae Order Nepenthales
Family Sarraceniaceae, the New World Pitcher Plants; 3 genera and 15 species of perennial herbs
Genus Sarracenia, the Pitcher Plants
A native, perennial, carnivorous herb.
# Insects are attracted to the colorful leaf rosettes that resemble flowers; the red lip of the "pitcher" is particularly attractive as a landing zone. Red veins that lead downward are baited with nectar. Following this lure, prey reach the curve of the tube, which is lined with fine hairs, all pointing downward. The animal falls into the pitcher, which contains rain, dew, and a digestive enzyme that soon dissolves the victim.
Classified as carnivorous rather than insectivorous because consumption includes not only insects but also isopods, mites, spiders, and the occasional small frog. While a diet of meat helps the plants remain vigorous, grow larger, and produce more flowers, it does not appear essential for the survival of individual plants. This unusual life style has evolved as a means of obtaining nutrients in places otherwise deficient in them. In addition to phosphorus and nitrogen, pitcher plants obtain vitamins and other trace minerals from their prey.
Sundews use tentacles with an adhesive "dew" to ensnare small insects such as gnats, fruit flies, and sometimes mosquitos! Sundews glitter with often ruby-red hues and make it worth getting on your knees for a closer look. Some are winter hardy, others are tropical. Hundreds of species exist in many countries.

17th Jun 2005

Art and Design, Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

Carniverous plants, Pitcher plant, Sundew, Sarracenia, Drosera, Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Horticultural Society

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