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Scientists think 'killer petunias' should join the ranks of carnivorous plants
Date:12/4/2009

y and non-carnivory should not be treated as a black and white situation, and they view plants as being on a sliding scale between those that show no carnivorous characteristics and those that are real "meat eaters" such as the Venus flytrap.

Plants like petunias and potatoes have sticky hairs that trap insects, and some species of campion have the common name catchfly for the same reason. However, some of the commonly accepted carnivores have not been demonstrated to have the ability to digest the insects they trap or to absorb the breakdown products. In their paper, Chase et al. review each of the groups of potential carnivores.

Professor Mark Chase, Keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says, "Although a man-eating tree is fictional, many commonly grown plants may turn out to be cryptic carnivores, at least by absorbing through their roots the breakdown products of the animals that they ensnare. We may be surrounded by many more murderous plants than we think."

Vaughan Southgate, President of the Linnean Society of London says, "This scholarly, beautifully illustrated, review of carnivorous plants and the different levels of carnivory that exist in the plant world by botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Natural History Museum makes for fascinating reading."


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Contact: Bronwyn Friedlander
pr@kew.org
020-833-25605
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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