Today I Discovered The Murderous Plants Of Australia's Bushland

Image: Carnivorous Corner/YouTube

While you were chomping on Easter bilbies and eggs for a weekend, there were hundreds of plant species across the country celebrating with hearty meals of their own. They might not be able to take down something the size of a human (thank god, we don't need more things that can kill us here), but the Lovecraftian horrors trap and slowly drown insects to get the nutrients they need.

These are Australia's murderous plants.

Over the weekend, Ann Jones at ABC Science unleashed this wonderful inside look at the carnivorous plants of Australia that terrified famed biologist Charles Darwin. Presenting the plants as having a thirst for blood, Jones described the 'hanging swamps of the Blue Mountains' - a forest of Drosera binata - and the gruesome way that they get their nutrients.

The Drosera are sometimes known as 'sundews' because they have tentacle-like leaves with small droplets at their apex. Those droplets are able to stick to passing insects and enclose around them. The insect struggles against the sundew, but that only causes the plants glue to tighten around it further.

They can be incredibly fast - too fast for the human eye to register - when catching prey but it's the digestive process that is really gruesome (if you're a bug).

The video below, from Carnivorous Corner on Youtube, shows a species of Drosera capturing a hoverfly. It stops short of showing the entire thing be digested, but you can clearly see the way that its tiny stalks close around the little beast how it prevents it from getting away.

It's fascinating but also just plain ~weird~. It's kind of hard to watch, in a way.

Poor, little insect.

Once the bug is within Drosera's grasp, enzymes are secreted by the plant and onto the crawly.

You're probably familiar with plants like the Venus Fly trap and the pitcher plants that hang in the forests of Asia, waiting for unsuspecting insects to drop in, unable to get out. Unlike those plants, where the digestive process is contained within the planet, the Drosera aren't shy. They don't hide this process. The insect is 'liquefied within its own exoskeleton'.

Man, nature is lit

You can read the full thing at ABC Online or, like I did, stumble down the rabbit hole of watching carnivorous plants eat things on YouTube.

[ABC Online]


Comments

    If you're serious about it, take a go-pro and find the Gympie-Gympie plant and then post the results of it here. Tell us how it goes.

    Last edited 03/04/18 12:04 pm

      That's for "Today I Discovered Literally The Worst Friggin Plant In Australia That Will Haunt Your Dreams For The Rest Of Your Life (Unless You're A Red-Legged Pademelon)"

        Well, if you're serious about this journalism thing, then get to it. Go-pro or it didn't happen, champ...

      jesus. just read a national geographic article about that thing. thats nasty as hell.

        Yeah, I'm just trying to goad the author into doing it. I'm sick of all these cheap gizmodo hacks not putting their bodies on the line for their readers...
        Plus, on the upside, it'd be a uniquely Australian thing to do. Anytime anyone complains about the articles lifted directly from the US site, the author could link to the video footage of his Gympie-Gympie encounter with just the comment "shut up, jerk" :D

          Mate! Chris Jager puts his body on the line every week by eating a ton of trash for you guys. He even ate placenta!

          I'd put my body on the line, but we don't get paid that kind of wage.

            HAHA oh god don't remind me of that Placenta please. So gross!

            Ah, then all he's done is set the lowest benchmark. Exceed it! Any fool can eat placenta. Get yourself into some Gympie-Gympie and go out a complete legend.

            I will concede the prudence of weighing up your current wage state against said hardcore plant, but glory knows no such weakness :)

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