January 11, 2010

Dangerous Beauties.

I love my work. I am involved in research and am part of a scientific lab. I guess what I find very exciting about my carrier field is that it deals with nature. I take part in investigating the biology of not just the human body, but also the physiology of animals and plants.

Recently, our lab made an excursion to a plantation, positioned within a green house, which grows plants. But not just any plants. These are the plants of a somewhat dangerous kind, the so called Carnivorous plants ("meat-eating" plants).
Not to worry, they are harmless to us, but pose a certain danger to insects. This type of plants include about 630 species that attract and trap their prey, produce digestive enzymes, and absorb the resulting available nutrients.

Despite their somewhat unusual way of living, I find these utterly fascinating. And the place we visited was amazing as well. Square meters of large spaces, humid air scented with soil and shelves filled with nothing but small pots, as long as eye could see. All arranged in a perfect manner, containing unusual forms of life. Some had developed a form of clasping hands (so called Venus Flytrap) with spikes, effectively trapping the insect inside. Some had long sticky leaves containing a certain syrupy glue to hold onto their prey or even pitcher like leaves, posing a danger to anything that wanders within.

Nature is to me a constant source of wonder and awe. Visiting this green house only underlined this notion.


Rajesh said...

Very nice and informative. I read in news paper even tomato and potato plants are Carnivorous plants.

Reading Tea Leaves said...

The notion of a carnivorous plant is a stange one. I read somewhere that there is a plant that smells of decay - you do wonder for what possible reason such a plant exists! Our wonderful diverse planet has a place for everything it seems!

Jeanne x

Unknown said...

God you're smart.
am learning so much from you.

poor insects. hihihi.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

You know I knew the Venous Flytrap was carnivorous but I truly didn't know there that many species of meat eating plants. They are, indeed, beautiful! Have a grand day! Cathy

Anonymous said...

Wow... how intriguing. There is a play base on meat-eating plants. I think it is titled "Little House of Horrors". I'm sure your work can prove quite interesting. The
plants are dangerous beautiful. I
especially like the purple flowered one. I took a botany class in college and enjoyed it. I still remember the drinking cell of the plant is the colinkama cell.
Have a great week, Zuzana. Tell us more of your exciting job! The Bach

Helen McGinn said...

They have some of those plants in Glasgow Botanic Gardens; we love going to visit them and watch the Venus flytrap get to work! Lovely pictures.

Shelly's Style Shop said...

Your job sounds so exciting! I am sure you enjoy it very much. That would be a very neat place to visit. You always give us a very well explanation of what your writing about. I love it!

Nice pictures, too!

I hope you have a wonderful week.

xoxo, Shelly

Betsy Brock said...

What's the little purple flowered plant called? It looks like something I've had in a hanging plant before!

Claus said...

I'm familiar with these green houses. At the farms in my job, they have large ones, filled also with little pots, but containing little papaya, lemons, an assorted vegetables sprouts. I share the fascination!, and must say I like the smell of the humid soil.
I have heard of this carnivorous plants, but haven't actually seen one. It must be very intersting! Do you know if they can be at homes for mosquito problems? if not, what are their use?
Have a great week ahead!

♥Mimi♥ said...

Yes, you do have a wonderful job, indeed! In the summer when I garden often I will just stop whatever task I am doing to just sit quietly and look and explore the tiniest portion of a plant of little bug that happens to be crawling about. There is so much to see if we will only take the time to look and be still. I think the little visitors I most enjoy in my garden are the fat, fuzzy bumble bees. They are adorable and such hard workers!

Brian Miller said...

very neat. my oldest has wanted a venus fly trap, they fascinate him as well. i love nature and the mysteries she provides and hides in plain sight.

Julie Hibbard said...

My son had a venus fly trap when he was younger. We used to catch flies to put in the little 'mouths'...
You have a very interesting life! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and adventures!

Anonymous said...

Wow - interesting work! And those purple flowers look so innocent! :)
Have a Happy Monday, Zuzana!

Donna said...

Wow, I didn't know there were so many species. The photos are beautiful!


Kath said...

You have Brains as well as beauty, a rare combination Zuzana!

Rebecca said...

What a very interesting job you have! And..this greenhouse looks spectacular...I, too, immediately thought of the musical that Bach mentioned, "Little Shop of Horrors" and the giant Venus Fly trap. I've always been so fascinated with the concept that a plant would actually eat insects:O..

Dani said...

my new blog is up! come visit me!


sprinkles said...

I had no idea there were so many varieties of meat eating plants!

I had a few Venus Flytrap plants in the past but they never seemed to last long.

Your job sounds interesting! Probably a lot more fun than sitting at a desk at day chained to a computer. Those are the kinds of jobs I used to work when I was employed.

For being so "dangerous," those plants sure are pretty!

Glad to hear that BatCat is going to be a part of the Pup Scouts of America!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Whenever I worked with classrooms or children who visited my California TEACHING GARDEN in Cambria, I found that next to the sensory pleasures and ethnobotanical interests in herbs, the children ADORED carnivorous plants.

Thanks for this and always be a child-at-heart,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and A Little Green Island

Gal Friday said...

I had heard of the Venus Flytrap before, but to think there are 629 other species of this type of carnivorous plant in the world--well, I just learned that from you today, Zuzana.
*sigh* I just wish I were able to take an illuminating "field trip" once in a while, like you were able to, away from the confines of my work place.

Jeannette StG said...

Yes, I've seen these in a botanical building in San Diego - one of my favorite places to visit-(can't remember if these were called the Venus-traps), but they're the right bottom ones in your collage of pics.

Very interesting subject! Maybe I should get these, because I'm always the first one to be bitten by mosquitoes, LOL!

j. said...

Dangerous beauties indeed! They have such vibrant coloring.. But the idea of meat-eating plants just doesnt sit well with me. The movie, Little Shop of Horrors certainly did nothing to help cure that. hehe..

Happy 2010, Ms. Z!!


steviewren said...

I tore an article out of the newspaper about unusual one day trips a year or so ago. There is a bog in South Alabama where visitors can see many of these same plants in their natural habitat. I tore it out, but have never made plans to go there. Thanks for the reminder.

Unknown said...

This brings back memories, Zuzana. When I was a kid, each summer we'd visit family in southern New Jersey. During the trip, we'd spend a day at Longwood Gardens, and one of my favorite part of the gardens was the greenhouse, and in particular, the carnivorous plants.

I think I might have some photos from the last time we visited, when I got to show them to my own kids.


Blogaire said...

You really do have an interesting job Zuzana!
It's always great when you are doing a job you love AND getting paid for it (some people work all their lives just for the money their job provides).
Like some of your other readers I also saw some of these plants in our Botanic Gardens - just a few of them mind you. But being in the same room as hundreds of them sounds almost scary. Are you sure they are harmless? I hope I don't have nightmares tonight.

Anonymous said...

Very cool...you have an interesting career!

Hilary said...

Oh wow.. what a visit that must have been. I have of course heard of the Venus Fly Trap but never realized there were other meat-eating plants. So interesting and you got some great shots. No surprise there. :)

Anonymous said...

not many people can say that they love their job. i love mine too (most days anyway!)

S. Susan Deborah said...

Zuzana: I was a Biology student as well and have been wonder struck and awed on reading about the Venus Flytrap. Even now my area is a combination of literature and Ecology called Ecocriticism.

Am glad to be sharing a similar strain with you.

Joy always,

Noelle Chantal said...

your excursion trip sounds interesting to me! those are some unusual plants. never heard of those dangerous kind of plants. the one with like clasping hands looks like a butterfly to me! hehe :)

thanks for sharing these! i really learn a lot from your blog. :)

Zuzana said...

Rajesh, Jeanne, Denise, Cathy, The Bach, Helen, Shelly, Betsy, Claudia, Mimi, Brian, Julie, Zuzu, Donna, Kath, Rebecca, Dani, sprinkles, Sharon, Tina, jeannette, Valentine, Stevie, Tim, Blogaire, Ladycat, Hilary, Kamana (welcome!), Susan and Noelle – so wonderful to know that most of you are familiar with some of these plants.;)
The greenhouse was a wonderful place, warm and humid, scent of soil in the air, no rotten or putrid scent whatsoever.
In fact Venus Flytrap plants grown naturally in North Carolina; some of these plants need a bit of cold in the winter to thrive. And yes, most of the species are sold to private homes to be planted in pots on terraces and balconies to keep insects away. But they are very difficult to care for and require some knowledge.;)

Thank you everyone for your very kind and interesting comments, as always, I am so appreciative of all of you stopping by.


Unknown said...

Not as dramatic as the photo you posted, but here's my shot of the display in the greenhouse at Longwood Gardens: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3103466&id=132828199437


Zuzana said...

Thank you Tim, it was a great picture.;)