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Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants are sensitive to disturbances in their habitat. Please do not walk on, pick or dig these plants.

Can you spot the carnivorous plants?

Beside the boardwalk, you may see some varieties of carnivorous plants. Carnivorous plants have an advantage over other plants in nutrient-poor soils like these in the fen. They have evolved various mechanisms to trap and consume insects as a source of nutrients, especially nitrogen. Some of these mechanisms are the pitfall trap, the flypaper trap and the bladder trap.

The northern pitcher plant

Pitcher plants trap prey in a pitfall trap. Insects are lured by the shape and colour
of the pitcher-like leaves which have downward facing hairs that prevent insects from climbing out. Trapped, their bodies are broken down by digestive enzymes to provide nutrients for the plant.

The round-leaved sundew plant

This tiny, round-leaved plant grows only a few centimetres high and uses a flypaper trap. Tentacles on the leaves secrete shiny droplets of sticky sweet mucilage containing digestive enzymes. Insects are attracted to this “dew” and, once trapped, the insect is digested by the plant.

The bladderwort plant

This carnivorous plant lives underwater. It feeds using a bladder trap which acts as a vacuum. When the trapdoor is touched by a water flea, tiny worm or insect larva, the prey is sucked into the bladder within a fraction of a second. The plant then begins digesting the prey.

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