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Discuss any carnivorous plant that doesn't fit in the above categories here or general chat about carnivorous plants

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By DeadlyCarnivore
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Joined:  Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:17 am
#386335
General info: Its called a False Asphodel. It grows in the US, and its a plant they have known about for a while. They just recently found out that it is carnivorous, its flower stem is sticky like a sundew. It produces the same enzymes that carnivorous plants produce, and about 2/3rds of its nitrogen is obtained through carnivorous digestion. It can only catch small insects like midges, not big insects like butterflies and bees.



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By Supercazzola
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Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
#386337
The interesting part for me:
One reason why this plant’s carnivory was overlooked is that these hairs are very small and grow only on the flower stalk—a feature unlike any known carnivorous plant
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By DeadlyCarnivore
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Joined:  Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:17 am
#386340
Supercazzola wrote:The interesting part for me:
One reason why this plant’s carnivory was overlooked is that these hairs are very small and grow only on the flower stalk—a feature unlike any known carnivorous plant
Yes! I thought that was very interesting too.

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By Doctor Adelae
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Joined:  Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:18 am
#386359
Holy crap, that's cool. An entire new kind of carnivore :shock:

It's a monocot, too! The bromeliads have company! Must be really unrelated to any other known carnivore.

The actual journal article (https://www.pnas.org/content/118/33/e2022724118) seems to be paywalled, but I happen to have university access to PNAS. Some highlights:
  • The plant is Triantha occidentalis, aka false asphodel, which grows in wetlands on the west coast of North America and has sticky hairs on the flower stems.
  • A previous group found that T. occidentalis had a deletion in the chloroplast gene NADH dehydrogenase-like (NDH-1), which I'm not familiar with but apparently some other carnivores have that deletion. So this group decided to test it for carnivory.
  • They fed some fruit flies with radioactively labeled nitrogen, put them on the stems, and then measured the amount of labeled nitrogen in the plant 1-2 weeks later. As controls, they did the same with Drosera rotundifolia and a non-carnivore.
  • The Triantha stems and the sundew leaves both absorbed similar amounts of labeled nitrogen, while the non-carnivore didn't absorb any. Very solid evidence of carnivory there! It can definitely absorb nitrogen from insects trapped on the stems.
  • The nitrogen seems to get exported out of the stems after a while. They suspect some is going to the fruits and some is getting stored in the roots/leaves/etc.
  • Based on some calculations, they estimate that 64% of the nitrogen in the leaves is from insects eaten in previous years. They say this might be overestimating a bit, but either way it's pretty close to D. rotundifolia's 76%.
  • They also showed that the stems are producing digestive enzymes (specifically some kind of phosphatase) using a chemical that glows when digested by phosphatases. This makes Triantha the first monocot that's ever been proven to both trap and digest prey all by itself - the bromeliads use microbes and insects to break theirs down.
  • It's also the first time a carnivorous plant has ever been known to eat solely through the flower stalk, which raises all sorts of questions about nutrient storage and pollination. The plant is pollinated by bees/butterflies but doesn't seem to trap them, so either it's only sticky enough to trap smaller insects or the stem is only attractive to smaller insects or both.
  • There are three other species in the genus Triantha, and at least one of them (T. glutinosa) has been seen with insects stuck to the flower stalks. Could be more carnivores on the way!
  • They close by pointing out that it's especially cool that this plant is fairly common near some major cities, and we just now realized it's carnivorous! How many other carnivores are hiding right under our noses??
I feel like the next step is gonna be making sure that people collect it responsibly, because I could see it becoming a lot less common in a hurry from poaching... : (
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By Nepenthes0260
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#386362
Wow, what an amazing discovery. I think it should be a widespread $15 carnivore in cultivation relatively soon, judging by how vigorous it appears to be. Now the other three species need to be studied! :D
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By DeadlyCarnivore
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#386372
This reminds me of that one plant(weed) some grower on here posted years ago, and it had what seemed to be a sticky tentacle on it. Does anyone remember that?

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By Apollyon
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Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
#386379
This sounds interesting. From the way you guys describe it, it sounds very similar to Sylidium. Sylidium also gets its carnivory when it flowers.
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By Sundew grower
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Joined:  Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:26 pm
#386381
Wow! That really makes you wonder what other possible carnivores are all around us. I bet most of us have heard of the possible carnivory of tomatoes and potatoes (granted they would be proto-carnivores), but I don't think enough people talk about the possibility of blackberry bushes being proto-carnivores.

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