Re: Ibicella lutea

Date: Wed Jan 27 1999 - 13:15:08 PST

Date:          Wed, 27 Jan 1999 13:15:08 
Message-Id: <aabcdefg233$foo@default>
Subject:       Re: Ibicella lutea

Dear Sam,

> I'm 19 years old and I'm interested in Ibicella since I was 17.
> I've noticed that Ibicella isn't a carnivorous plant! Who can tell me
> why.

The question is rather why has this plant ever been suspected to be
carnivorous. All speculations about the carnivory of _Ibicella_ or
Martyniaceae can be traced back to a single experiment published very
early this century by Mameli. The only substantial result of this
experiment was that a piece of albumin (a protein contained in cheese
etc.), which is initially a white or at least opaque substance,
became transparent upon treatment with _Ibicella_. Unfortunately, it
was appreciated only after these breathtaking experiments that this
change in albumin "appeal" can be caused by various circumstances, of
which digestion is only one. A piece of cheese will be "digested" in
this way by several sticky plant surfaces (incl. _Roridula_).

> I just want to know more about that wonderfull plant (and the way
> he isn't carnivorous...

It has only recently been tested by more rigorous methods whether
_Ibicella_ is in fact able to digest proteins (i.e. to break them
down by enzymatic hydrolysis), almost unanimously with negative
results (CPN, in press).

But if you remember the recent publications by Ellis & Midgley or
Hartmeyer, you will see that the case may still not be entirely
closed for sticky plants like _Ibicella_. If it can be shown that
they live in a +/- obligate association with insects that perform the
digestion, a sub-carnivorous mutualism could be assumed like in
_Roridula_. If you add bacterial decomposition to the legitimate
methods of cp digestion, you can call all sticky plants carnivorous.

Kind regards

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Jan 02 2001 - 17:31:54 PST