insectivorous plants

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Related to insectivorous plants: Venus fly trap

insectivorous plants:

see bladderwortbladderwort
, any plant of the genus Utricularia, insectivorous or carnivorous aquatic plants, many native to North America. Small animals are caught and digested in bladderlike organs of the finely divided submerged leaves.
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; pitcher plantpitcher plant,
any of several insectivorous plants with leaves adapted for trapping insects. Each leaf forms a "pitcher," a somewhat trumpet-shaped enclosure, usually containing a liquid.
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; Venus's-flytrapVenus's-flytrap,
insectivorous or carnivorous bog plant (Dionaea muscipula) native to the Carolina savannas and now widely cultivated as a novelty. The leaves, borne in a low rosette, resemble bear traps.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Insectivorous Plants


perennial herbaceous plants that trap insects (or, rarely, other small animals) and use them as a supplementary source of nourishment, primarily for nitrogen.

Insectivorous plants are found throughout the world. There are 500 species distributed in six different families, including Droseraceae, Lentibulariaceae, Nepenthaceae, Sarraceniaceae, and Cephalotaceae. In the USSR there are approximately 18 species, representing four genera distributed in the families Droseraceae (Drosera and Aldrovanda) and Lentibulariaceae (Utricularia and Pinguicula). Insectivorous plants grow in fresh-waters, marshy ponds, and swamps—that is, on soils with low nitrogen content. Nitrogen starvation is unavoidable in such circumstances, as are deficiencies in phosphorus, potash, and other substances.

The plants obtain supplementary minerals from insects, which they capture by means of specially modified leaves. The surfaces of such leaves have glands, which excrete digestive enzymes of the pepsin type and such organic acids as formic acid and benzoic acid. The enzymes break down the proteins in the bodies into simpler compounds, which are readily assimilated by the plants.

The root systems of terrestrial insectivorous plants are poorly developed; those of aquatic species have atrophied. Nevertheless, the plants are able to survive on substances obtained from the soil or the water. Supplementary nourishment from animal substances accelerates plant development and the transition to flowering and fruiting.

Some insectivorous species (sundews, butterworts, Drosophyllum) have leaves covered with numerous capitate glandular hairs that excrete a sticky transparent liquid to attract and snare insects. When an insect is caught, the plant’s gland secretion increases; the glandular hairs bend toward the insect (in sundews) or the edges of the entrapping leaf fold around the insect (butterworts). Other insectivorous plants have pitfall traps (Nepenthes, Sarracenia, Darlingtonia) or mechanical traps (Dionaea, Aldrovanda, Utricularia).


Darwin, C. “Nasekomoiadnye rasteniia.” Soch., vol 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Kholodnyi, N. G. “Charlz Darvin i sovremennye znaniia o nasekomoiadnykh rasteniiakh.” Soch., vol. 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Went, F. Vmire rastenii. Moscow, 1972. Pages 149–50. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(11.) William Emboden's delightful if not wholly reliable Bizarre Plants makes a point of emphasizing how Darwin's publication brought insectivorous plants to the attention of the public (127).
Insectivorous plants have leaves modified for insect entrapment and digestion to supplement nitrogen uptake.
Ideally, an insectivorous plant would, independently, attract prey to traps and pollinators to flowers.
He also describes how Charles Darwin corresponded with the director of the Botanic Gardens to obtain specimens of insectivorous plants. Since Ireland has so much bog land, where such plants thrive, Glasnevin was a wonderful resource for Darwin when he was doing research for Insectivorous Plants (1875).
There, you can see a spectacular collection of bonsai, learn about the Trail of Evolution, and marvel at rare orchids and insectivorous plants.
Sundew, in fact, is the best known and most easily accessible of the carnivorous and insectivorous plants. (1)
Allen refers to Swinburne's "The Sundew," originally published in The Spectator on July 26, 1862, but revised four years later for Poems and Ballads, and Charles Darwin's Insectivorous Plants (1875).
Reviews of Darwin's book and discussions of insectivorous plants in the popular press throughout the 1870s and 1880s almost with out exception emphasize the sundew's animal-like behavior.
A cytochemical study of the leaf-gland enzymes of insectivorous plants of the genus Pinguicula.
These studies were documented in three books that Darwin wrote on researches that grew out of field observations he made near his home (Browne, 2002; Kohn, 2005): On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects, and on the Good Effects of Intercrossing; The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species; and Insectivorous Plants.
The first 10 chapters of Insectivorous Plants (Darwin, 1900) present the sundew experiments designed to determine what types of substances triggered movement of the sticky trichomes to wrap around prey and stimulated secretion of the digestive fluid.
Smith Art Gall;ery and Museum, Stirling FLOW COUNTRY EXHIBITION: This exhibition is all about the peatlands of the Flow Country, which stretches through Caithness and Sutherland in the far north of Scotland and is the best blanket bog of its type in the world, a place of vast inspirational landscapes, an epic backdrop to fascinating and beautiful details, from soaring hen harriers to insectivorous plants. Until March 1.