Carnivorous Plant

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Carnivorous Plant any of the plant species that captures and digests insects as a source of nutrients by using specialised organ like leaves. Such plants are mostly green angiosperms and photosynthetic. Their digestive fluids contain certain microorganisms, live as decomposers of the ingested prey, and which act symbiotically with the plants. Some trap prey by suction mechanism (eg, Utricularia, Genlisea, Aldrovanda), some are snappers (eg, Dionaea), some use adhesive trapping organs (eg, Drosera, Pinguicula, Nepenthes) and some have pitfall pitchers (eg, Sarracenia, Cephalotus). Most of these plants tend to prefer moist to wet acidic soil and have poorly developed root systems. The submerged bladderwort (Utricularia) traps aquatic crustaceans such as Daphnia and Cyclops. When the prey touches the sensitive hairs of the trapdoor, the bladder exerts a firing action in the sense that the trapdoor opens inwards, thus permitting a rapid inflow of water with the prey into the bladder. The terrestrial insectivorous plants have modified leaves for trapping that have glandular hairs or adhesive substances. When any fly or ant comes in contact with the glands, the sensitive leaves curve inwardly and trap the prey.

In Bangladesh the most common insectivorous plant is Utricularia; six species of this genus occur in almost all freshwater bodies and marshy habitats. Drosera burmanii occurs in upland acidic soils during winter. The pitcher plant (Nepenthes khashiana) grows in hilly areas of the northeast. Aldrovanda vesiculosa, a threatened species, has been recorded in some aquatic habitats. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]