Re: What is a carnivorous plant?

Andreas Wistuba (
Thu, 15 Jun 1995 14:05:19 +0000

> I imagine the proposed case for Brochinia and Catopsis proceeds
> along these sort of lines - tank-fluid odour attracting insects,
> a distinct, slippery/scaly zone situated where insects may best
> succumb to gravity, and absorption of the rotting remains by
> the leaves - I don't know how much research has been carried
> out on the nature of the bacterial action, nor on the absorption
> mechanism (though foliar feeding is hardly an unusual concept.)
> I would guess the objections run deeper than observed behaviour,
> based on more complex botanical factors that I don't (yet) fully
> understand - I still can't see a fundamental difference between
> the case of S. purpurea and Brochinia. It seems a very hazy
> line between carnivorous plants and non-carnivorous plants to me.

Though having been very sceptical regarding Brocchinea I was deeply
impressed having seen Brocchinea in the wild. Imagine a field of
golden yellow organ pipes (reminding me on photographs of Sarracenia
flava I had seen...), the tubes being filled with dead insects....
Though Brocchinea does not have specific enzymes obviously it is very
efficient in _attracking_ and _trapping_ insects. It certainly is on the
way to carnivory in my understanding though it is not as perfect as the true
classical carnivores yet.


Andreas Wistuba; Mudauer Ring 227; 68259 Mannheim; Germany
Phone: +49-621-705471; Fax: +49-621-711307