Carnivorous plants, plants whose fame is inversely proportional to the true knowledge that we all or almost all have. In fact, few really know how they are and how they behave, beyond the very cinematic and surreal descriptions that are offered to us everywhere. A clue to the real nature of Carnivorous plants it gives us their original name: they were defined "Insectivore", then in 1942 the English biologist and botanist Lloyd arrived who renamed them, letting you imagine that these creatures were eating human beings at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even happy hour.
Carnivorous plants: what they are
The Carnivorous plants they are herbaceous plants that are distinguished from their colleagues by the fact that they also feed on insects and other small arthropods, without disregarding the “normal” elements present in the soil. Those that non-carnivorous plants synthesize through a joint action of air, light and water. They are divided into different types for morphology and by the kind of animals they eat. The reason they do it has nothing cannibalistic, sadistic, or bewitched.
These plants eating insect "meat" they are able to recover nutrients to ensure survival. If they did not do so, living in environments poor above all in nitrogen, but also in potassium and phosphorus, such as swamps, peat bogs or other rocky habitats, they would have no way to support themselves. Insects with their animal proteins save your life at Carnivorous plants, far from the idea of eating ourselves, or other animals.
Giant carnivorous plants
In the universe of Carnivorous plants there are some that are so small that it seems impossible for them to eat insects: they are almost equal. At the same time - The world is beautiful because it is varied - other carnivorous plants can measure a couple of meters, in height, or even more. Of course they don't grow around the corner but in more exotic and tropical places, nothing prevents us from going to visit them, without fearing our safety.
Giant or microscopic, they are generally perennial plants, except for some cases where they are annuals, and have small roots. In fact, they do not use this part of them to feed: having to capture insects, often flying, they are much more concentrated on having leaves that catch them with agility. In fact, we speak of traps, and the Carnivorous plants they can have various types, three are the main ones, which we will see later, exploring by species of the genus.
Carnivorous anti-mosquito plants
Among the carnivorous plants one of the most common is the Dionaea Muscipula, commonly known as Venus Flytrap, although appreciated because it catches mosquitoes, as well as flies. This genus of plant is very common in the southern United States, does well in a temperate climate and prefers to grow in full sun. It is not certain of the giants, indeed, it is rather small, the diameter of its foliage has an average diameter of 15-20 cm, generally arranged in a rosette, light green, around the central body.
It blooms in late spring, in white, with small promising buds peeking around the long stem, timidly. Even if it comes to Carnivorous plants. It is not difficult, as he will explain to you, to cultivate this mosquito catcher and for 4 euros online they can buy 10 seeds accompanied by their growing medium.
Carnivorous plants: price and where to buy them
If the Dionaea muscipula is the most recommended of all carnivorous plants - and there are also some 20 seeds on offer for 4 euros, always online - there are various other types to indulge in in your own home, perhaps frightening your friends with the idea that your living room is inhabited by very aggressive carnivorous plants. It can be an excellent strategy for keep curious neighbors, mother-in-law, nosy friends and scammers away.
A site like giardinocarnivoro.it, for example, it is an excellent way to screen the “Cultivable” types in the home and obtain them with a click. There are many others, in addition to nurseries and specialized shops that, at least in medium and large-sized cities, are not lacking. The Carnivorous plants arouse the curiosity of more and more people.
Carnivorous plants: care
Here are some basic indications for those who want to dedicate themselves as a neophyte to the cultivation of carnivorous plants. The type from which to start in order not to fall immediately into a fault but, on the contrary, to be able to boast of being a green thumb enabled for carnivores, is that of Dionaea muscipula.
The choice of location is fundamental: well lit, with direct sun but protected from violent air currents, a little humid but not too much. In the house these Carnivorous plants they look good on a window sill, otherwise in a terrarium: the important thing is that their roots have the vital space to expand even if they don't do much.
The soil should preferably be composed of good sphagnum peat of high acidity and sand, essential at 1/3 altitude for drainage. Other precautions concern water: we use either rainwater or distillate, zero limestone because it is very harmful to the Carnivorous plants.
I also allow myself to suggest that it is not appropriate to take your own creature: the idea of feed with insects, handing them to the plant in its trap, one by one, but we can cause annoying indigestion. If we can't do without it, let's limit ourselves to mosquitoes which are small, pleasant and digestible.
Carnivorous plants: names and varieties
Finally we can take a look at the various types of Carnivorous plants, let's distinguish them immediately for the traps they use in feeding: trap, adhesive, ascidian. From time to time it depends on the size of the plant and the type of prey, the most common are and prime. In this case we see how the leaves resemble a book or a semi-open mouth, with small denticles.
This trap thus made snaps shut, trapping the unfortunate insect then digested thanks to an enzyme that Carnivorous plants they secrete on purpose, capable of making even relatively large insects edible. An example of this category is the already known Dionea.
The sticky trap is made up of leaves that produce sticky mucilage capable of trapping prey. They do it through visible glands, as in the case of Pinguicula, or invisible, like the more timid Drosera. The third type of trap is called ascidian and presents us with one of the leaves of the carnivorous plants with a "jug" shape that allows it to capture large flying insects. Why do they get caught? Seduced by the color of the leaf or the perfume of nectar. One of Carnivorous plants which behaves like this is the Nepenthes.
Less common but still worth mentioning are other types of traps such as suction or pot traps: we find them in the most rare amphibious carnivorous plants like Utricularia and Genlisea.
Carnivorous plants: gift set
For those wishing to surprise or challenge a friend or send a provocative message to an acquaintance, there is a complete gift set for growing carnivorous plants, at 30 euros. A original idea for a birthday or an anniversary, or for a vegan friend, as long as she isn't touchy.
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