In celebration of April Fool’s Day, we wanted to put a spotlight on the plants that fool nature everyday by playing tricks on insects to lure them in, whether for pollination or for consumption. Nature’s tricksters play games every day! Here are our favourites...
This beautiful orchid has evolved to have a petal that resembles a female bee, in both appearance and scent! This orchid releases a scent which mimics the sex pheromones of the female bee to lure male bees to the flowers in an attempt to mate with the petals. As they do so, pollen from the flower is transferred, and the poor bee is left confused and frustrated.
Moth orchids were given this name as their petals were said to resemble moths in flight. In their natural habitats, they hang from trees and as the wind blows they flutter around looking like a cluster of flying moths, which attracts real moths who try to get involved in the fun. In the meantime, the moths collect pollen packets from the flowers and transfer them to other blooms. Clever huh?
Insects just can’t resist the enticing, juicy droplets on these plants which look like glistening drops of dew. Each gland on the plant produces sweet nectar to entice their prey, along with a powerful adhesive and digestive enzymes to trap and digest it. Once an insect lands on the Sundew and becomes stuck in the secretions, neighbouring tentacles begin to coil around the insect, smothering it whilst the enzymes begin the digestive process.
Lithops are mimicry plants that resemble small stones on the ground in their nature habitat of arid, rocky areas, and there is a reason they have evolved this way - to avoid being eaten by herbivores. Each Lithops plant camouflages with the rocky areas in which they grow, meaning hungry herbivores will likely bypass them without realising what they are. Cool huh?!
Venus Fly Trap
We all know the Venus Fly Trap! It’s one of nature's ultimate tricksters - luring its prey by secreting sweet nectar within each trap. When the hungry insect lands in the trap to have its sugary lunch, hairs on the surface of the trap are triggered by the insect’s touch, which causes the trap to close shut. Once shut, the trap begins to secrete digestive enzymes and its game over for the poor bug.
These cool looking plants work in a similar way to the Venus Fly Trap. They lure insects into their pitchers which are coated in secretions of sugary nectar. The nectar is irresistible to the insects who typically end up falling into the pitcher and landing in a pool of digestive enzymes where they drown and become the plants next meal.
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April has arrived and the whole world seems to be exploding into flower and new growth. The days are longer and lighter and it won't be long until ...