New carnivorous plant discovered in North America

the Western Triantha In a study published in the scientific journal PNAS, botanists first described insects on their sticky-haired stems and petals, then sucking nutrients from their carcasses.

The rare find represents a A pleasant surprise For one of the study’s authors, Dr. Shaun Graham, a professor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Botany, who expects a lot of public interest. Carnivorous flowers have that wild look that people love, he thinks.

People are fascinated by carnivores because they do what they are not supposed to: eat meat.

Quote from:Dr. Shaun Graham, Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia

The western tofieldie specimens studied in the study were found at Mount Cypress, north of Vancouver.

Image source: UBC / Danilo Lima

From suspicion to discovery

When they set out to study the West, botanists already suspected that it could be carnivorous.

Three things have taken over their ears: they have lost certain genes that are absent in other carnivorous plants, they live in the same kind of wet and misty environment, and they have sticky hair.

The study author says this fact is not unique to carnivorous plants.

Many flowers use sticky whiskers for self-defense, to prevent insects from eating them. In this case, the opposite is true.

Quote from:Dr. Shaun Graham, Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia

The specimens studied are those strewn across the Cypress Mountain grounds in North Vancouver. However, we also find tofieldie from western California to Alaska.

Pollination and eating meat

One of the most fascinating aspects of Western Tofield’s behavior, the researchers say, is that it traps insects that pollinate its flowers. At first glance, this is paradoxical because you shouldn’t kill insects that help you reproduce.Says lead author Dr. Qianshi Lin.

However, a balance between the need for pollination and the need to feed on insect feeders is still possible, explains Dr. Tom Givenish, a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Its glandular hairs can only trap midges and other small insects, so the stronger bees and butterflies, which act as their pollinators, are not captured., Determines.

Other discoveries to follow

Thanks to their discovery, there are now 19 species of carnivorous plants in Canada.

These plants are rare and we don’t discover them every dayProfessor Graham remembers. It’s cool, it gets people interested in flowers and plants, which are very important to us.

The presence of western plants close to large urban centers suggests that other carnivorous plants remain to be discovered, even in well-studied ecosystems, the UBC notes.

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