Meat-eating plants

The soil in a waterlogged bog is very poor quality and lacks nitrogen, but these sundews have an ingenious strategy for coping. Their leaves are covered in tentacles tipped with droplets of what appears at first to be morning dew - giving the plant its name. They're sweet-smelling and attractive to many insects but they're also extremely sticky and ready for the mosquitoes that emerge from the bog.

The sundew's tentacles are living fly-paper and struggling only embeds the insect further. With each contact the tentacles roll up and tighten their grip, smearing the prey with droplets. Eventually the insect is smothered and drowns in the sticky fluid. Digestive enzymes break down the body into a nitrogen-rich meal which is absorbed by the plant. Without animal tissues, this plant would not survive.

Release date:

Duration:

3 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
NarratorDavid Attenborough
ProducerNeil Lucas
Executive ProducerMichael Gunton

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