Will a New Flesh-Eating Plant Invade Texas?
Up to this point, the largest carnivorous plant in East Texas has been the "Sarracenia alata," known as the pale pitcher or yellow trumpet plant. But a new discovery has us wondering if another carnivorous plant is on its way.
Science class taught us that plants get their nutrition from sunlight and that's how they survive, but maybe the academics who came up with that idea never let them belly up to a bug buffet. Apparently, a plant-based diet is not all it's cracked up to be and sometimes plants themselves want some meat.
Carnivorous plants are not new, but they might be becoming more abundant. They're usually found in wetlands, like the Sarracenia alata, pictured above. The leaves are shaped like a pitcher or trumpet with a hood so that they will collect water, and they have enzymes inside to digest trapped insects.
This plant has been lurking in East Texas for years, but just this week, scientists announced a new meat-eating plant that's recently been discovered in the Pacific Northwest and we're wondering if it could eventually make its way here.
The name "Triantha occidentalis" might not sound all that fierce, but this unassuming little meat-eater could be spreading around the country because it's another wetland dweller, like our East Texas trumpet plant. It may not chase you down and eat you, but the flowering stalks with sticky hairs can trap insects and digest them.
For now, it's found mostly in wet areas from Alaska to California, and "inland to Montana," and it's the first new meat-eating plant to be discovered in about twenty years, according to scientists. This one is sneaky because it's the leaves that trap and digest the prey. Usually, it's the stalks that get 'em.
Scientists are excited because they've discovered something new with this plant, but what if they are cute little reminders that the world has gone sideways and nothing is what it appears? Harmless little plant? No, serial killer.
If your sweet spouse picks you a bunch of these things and puts them in a beautiful vase on the kitchen counter, well, maybe he or she is not a keeper. But at least the flies will be gone.