Re: What is a carnivorous plant?

Peter Cole (
Fri, 17 Jun 1994 16:17:37 GMT

Becky writes:

>> (I'd guess
>> most algae fits the bill as non-cp also.)
> Geez, you've never heard of an algae bloom that used up all the oxygen and
> killed off all the fish?

Ah, but only red marine algae - I've encountered the argument
before, but I find it a little too spurious even for me :) even
with the supposed nutritional benefit to the algae. I guess the
main objection is that there appears to be no attraction or trapping
of prey, just blanket poisoning/suffocation.

> There's also a study out of Berkeley that says that oak trees control
> squirrel populations by NOT producing acorns one year.(Honest, I didn't make
> that up, but have forgotten where I saw it.) Since squirrels live in oak
> trees, you don't suppose that they do that on purpose for some nutritional
> suppliment?

Now this gets me wondering - we have a similar (though rather more
extreme,) situation with beech trees here in Wales (and probably
elsewhere.) Beech mast (nuts,) production works on an average
7 year cycle - 1 year in 7 you get a good harvest with plenty of
nuts. The rest of the time, almost nothing - wizened, non-viable
seed cases. I wonder if this is an adaptation to discourage
squirrels etc. from getting too much of a taste for the nuts -
7 years isn't long in the lifespan of a beech tree - there'll be
plenty of seeding years - but it is in the lifespan of a squirrel!
The curious thing being that all the trees are synchronised to the
same cycle, which would, of course, be necessary to act as a
[Or rational (boring,) explanation: environmental and meteorological
conditions are only occasionally sufficiently favourable for seed
I know which explanation I like best :)

> I would make a case for the fungi, except that they are no longer considered
> plants. You know, those mushroom that would drop you in your place is you
> were to sample them in the wild instead of taking them home where your dead
> body would piss your wife off and scare the children.

I don't know about US fungi, but the deadly ones here, like
the death cap, are devious, slow-release killers. They taste OK
and you feel fine for a couple of days after eating them. By the
time you feel ill it's far, far too late to do anything. A bit
like paracetemol I guess, only squishier...
Needless to say, I don't speak from personal experience :)

Happy growing,