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The Venus Flytrap and Other Weird & Wild Plants

Before you begin, print the worksheet found at the bottom of this page.

1. There are about 500 species of carnivorous plants, most of which grow in poor soil, like bogs and sandy wooded areas. They survive by attracting, capturing, killing, digesting, and absorbing nutrients from _________________________. Find the Answer

 

2. One of the most famous carnivorous plants if the 'Venus flytrap'. It attracts prey with ____________. Then it turns the insect into a tasty dinner. How? Find the Answer

 

3. The rootless 'bladderwort' plant floats in shallow waters. It can catch its prey in 1/500 of a second! It gets its name from _____________________________________, which vacuum up tiny aquatic animals. Find the Answer

 

4. The 'butterwort' plant mostly makes its home in areas north of the equator. It gets its name from the ______________________ that covers its yellow and green leaves, helping it to catch and digest its prey. Find the Answer

 

5. The 'pitcher plant' is another distinctive carnivorous plant. It grows in boggy areas, trapping prey in its ________________________. Insects are attracted to the plant by its ____________________________________. Find the Answer

 

6. The cobra lily grows in bogs and along trickling streams where its roots are kept cool by moving water. The upper leaf has many transparent areas that insects confuse for __________. The pitcher-rounded head and forked tongue resembling a __________ ready to strike. Find the Answer

 

7. The 'sundew' plant's leaves are covered with many sticky ___________________. A sweet, nectar-like aroma lures its prey. Then, once an insect is stuck, the plant covers it in adhesive and digestive ________________, which break down nutrients. Find the Answer

 

8. The 'Titan Arum', the world's largest flower, is also the smelliest. Although it is not a carnivorous plant, it attracts insects in much the same way. How and why? Find the Answer


 
Worksheet:  Weird & Wild Plants

Corpse Flower; Titan Arum

  Illustration: Kandis Elliot
 
Amorphophallus titanum

Family: Araceae 

Native to Indonesia’s equatorial rainforests, this plant was first discovered in 1878 in Sumatra, Indonesia. It has the largest un-branched inflorescence in the world. A mature bloom could measure 7-12 feet in height. A mature leaf could be 20’ tall and 15’ wide. There is usually only one leaf at a time; our tuber has put out three leaves this growth cycle. A vegetative period may last 12 to 20 months before the plant withers and goes dormant for 2 to 4 months. Repotting is necessary during dormancy and the new pot should be three times larger than the tuber. Photo on the right is a close up of the trunk-like leaf stem.

The bloom last only 2-3 days. Plant releases waves of odor to attract insect pollinators, which smells like rotting flesh. This “stinking” odor lasts only the first 8 hours the bloom is open. It may bear hundreds of red orange fruits. It belongs to the aroid family that also includes anthuriums, caladiums, callalilies and philodendrons. Some plants have gone from a seed to flowering in 7 years.

Check out the International Aroid Society website for some great photos of this plant in bloom! The Fullerton Arboretum website includes detailed information and life cycle.