carnivorous plant

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Any plant that supplements its supply of nitrates in conditions of nitrate deficiency by digesting small animals, especially insects. Such plants are adapted in various ways to attract and trap the insects and produce proteolytic enzymes to digest them. Venus' fly trap (Dionaea), for example, has spiny-margined hinged leaves that snap shut on an alighting insect. Sundews (Drosera) trap and digest insects by means of glandular leaves that secrete a sticky substance, and pitcher plants (families Nepenthaceae and Sarraceniaceae) have leaves modified as pitchers into which insects fall, drowning in the water and digestive enzymes at the bottom.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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