Sunday, August 17, 2014

Carnivorous Plants - Fun "interactive" display

The Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago currently has a plant bog full of carnivorous plants. It was very fun to not only see the plants - but to really watch them at work. It only takes a few moments to see flies swarm and crawl into these beautiful flowers - never to return. 
Carnivorous plants in Chicago

Carnivorous plants derive some or most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming insects. Carnivorous plants grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings. Thus their adaptation to consume insects for nutrients.  Charles Darwin wrote the first comprehensive book on carnivorous plants in 1875 - Insectivorous Plants, the first well-known treatise on carnivorous plants, in 1875! This is about the same time that plans for the park, gardens, and first conservatory in now Garfield Park in Chicago were forming. 

The conservatory recreated a bog in a shady area in a nice elevated bed. The display does a nice job of sharing different trapping mechanisms - and placement makes it so easy to see.  There is also a nice range of various "fly catching" techniques."

I did see a sign that said do not touch, but I didn't see a sign that said "no feeding the plants!"

Pitfall traps where the prey goes into a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria - example the pitcher plant. There were a few varieties of these - I really liked the deep red on pictured blow.

Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage or glue which holds the plants. I believe that is the on just below on the right.

Snap plant traps - the Venus fly trap was there too!

I took photos of the flies coming to dinner :) and people watched. So many just casually strolled by - off to another wonderful location at the conservatory - missing the carnage :)  I was also a bit caught up in though trying to imagine the place where these plants would be native and be highly prevalent in the landscape. I decided I'd like to visit, but not stay long!

Teresa Marie

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