Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fascinating Plants

Do you know what this is??? It's part of our new Cape Sundew! Isn't it beautiful? This plant is a carnivorous plant (or CP) and it uses those sticky drops of "dew" to trap its victims. You can see 2 little "meals" in this photo - I think they are gnats. When I touch these droplets of "dew", it is sticky and I can pull the plant towards me when I pull my finger away.

Here's a fuller view of our sundew. In the bowl, the green "stuff" is another CP - bladderwort. It eats very tiny insects. To be a CP a plant must do 3 things - attract, capture and digest its prey. Some are active like the more familiar venus flytrap and the bladderwort which "sucks in" its prey; and some are passive like this sundew and pitcher plants. The sundew actually becomes active when it captures its prey and will slowly wrap its tentacles around its prey.
We learned about CPs while attending a class recently. We enjoyed listening to this passionate speaker tell us about CPs as he showed us dozens of his "babies." Then, he gave us the 2 above plants to take home!
For further reading, we checked out Elizabite by H. A. Rey! The speaker had it on display so we had to see what it was like. Alexandra thought it was quite funny!

This was one of the biggest pitcher plants we saw. It was about 2 1/2 inches long. Some pitcher plants can eat small mammals like frogs and mice!

I was surprised at the beautiful blooms CPs can have. Although this blooming pitcher plant was inside, this was the same kind of plant that grows at this local nature preserve and we enjoyed seeing these blooms out in the wild.

The butterworts became my new "favorite CP" because of these beautiful flowers. Aren't they gorgeous??? By the way, CPs eat meat because they live in poor soil and they need these extra nutrients. You should NEVER give a CP any fertilizer.

Above is a video about pitcher plants that I found really interesting. And, you should check out the videos at Peter's Savage Garden. He has some great videos and shows lots of different plants.


Ms. Julie's Place said...

This is too fun! You could adapt my monster and alien project post to carnivorous 40 dot plants or carnivorous name plants.

Thanks for the poetry info- we will be following it this month!

Rhonda said...

That close up of the Cape Sundew is amazing. You did a wonderful job on the photo. Melanie learned about the Pitcher Plant a few grades back and we truly enjoyed the lesson. Thank you so much for sharing the photos.

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