Most plants absorb the substances which they need from the ground. But in order to survive in dry or non-fertile areas, some have developed the capacity to eat insects or small animals such as frogs, from which they receive vitamins and mineral salts. Insects are attracted by the perfume and the colour of a plant and are than trapped by different methods – for instance, by being caught in the drops of the sticky ‘glue’ of Sundew, or imprisoned in the spiny lobes of a Venus Fly Trap.
How do they digest an animal?
Inside a meat-eating plant there are special glands which produce the enzymes necessary to ‘dissolve’ the prey, so that plant can absorb it.
Which plants are meat-eaters?
The leaves of Nepenthes Pitcher Plant are called ascidiums. These are like bags.
An insect, attracted by the nectar on the brim of the bag, goes to suck it up and is imprisoned inside. Bristles in the ascidium are turned downwards, and this stops the insect climbing back up.
The leaves of the Sundew are covered with green or red hairs which produce drops of sticky liquid, rather like drops of dew. When an insect lands on the leaf, it sticks to these hairs. The hairs then close together and imprison the insect.
the Venus Fly Trap
At first contact with its prey, the Venus Fly Trap immediately closes its spiny lobes, trapping the insect inside.