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Carnivorous plants (house 4a)

Animals feeding on plants – that's not particularly remarkable. – Plants feeding on animals, however, – now, that's interesting. Carnivorous plants do not kill to survive – no, they just do it to improve their standard of living. Their prey has to be enticed to approach them. To achieve this, quite a number of species have dressed up for the occasion and have put on some beguiling perfume to attract their victims. Once caught, the carnivores apply various tricks to prevent their prey from escaping.

Carnivores in their screened off bed

Carnivores are plants that derive their nutrients from the tissue of small animals they catch. Well-equipped carnivores produce their own digestive juices, others get help from bacteria. The victims of the (South African) Roridula species are sucked dry by Pameridea bugs and spiders which have managed to outwit the carnivores' trap mechanisms. Some of the sticky droppings of these insects are deposited on the plant's leaves and most probably used as fertiliser by the plant. Contrary to general understanding, the Roridula species should nevertheless be regarded carnivorous.

More carnivorous plants are on display in the small greenhouses and basins of the Special Themes section in the outdoor garden area.

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