All Of The Flower Mechanisms Would Help Prevent Pollination Why a Voodoo Lily Is Not a Carnivorous Plant

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Why a Voodoo Lily Is Not a Carnivorous Plant

I visited a doctor-friend of mine in her office and noticed a strange smell. Finally I had to ask her, “What’s that smell? Did you forget to take out your biohazard container?”

“No,” she said. “This is the voodoo lily that bloomed outside the window.” Sure, there was a plant with a stunningly beautiful flower just below her office window, but the smell of a rotting dead mouse on a hot summer day.

I told her she needed to dig up the plant. Although its flowers were wonderful, its smell was revolting! So patients will get wrong idea about her clinic! The next day, the voodoo lily was promptly dug up and thrown away.

The interesting thing about voodoo lily flowers is that they attract flies, not bees, for pollination. That is why they smell like rotting meat. Their flowers are also ingenious traps that keep the flies buzzing until all parts of the flower are pollinated.

Voodoo lily flowers also generate heat, raising the air temperature in the flower by several degrees. Some botanists have reported flowering temperatures as high as 110°F (43°C) in cool shade! Flies become more active as temperatures rise. However, voodoo lilies only attract fish for pollination purposes and are sometimes mistaken for carnivores.

To qualify as a carnivore, a plant must:

1) There should be a special mechanism for catching insects.

2) Secreted enzymes to break down insects.

3) Digest and utilize nutrients found in insects.

Almost all plants growing in your garden receive nourishment through their roots. Nitrogen, phosphorus, minerals and other nutrients are absorbed by the extensive root system below the soil surface.

Roots are designed to seek out rich reserves of nutrients and water. Once found, they collect available nutrients and send them to the upper parts of the plant to produce leaves, branches, flowers and fruits.

On the other hand, carnivorous plants thrive in acidic and highly nutrient-poor soils. Therefore, they need to get their nutrition in other ways, mainly through their leaves.

Their leaves are designed to trap insects where they break down into easily absorbable forms. Although there are many methods of using carnivorous plants to capture insects, they all use digestive chemicals called enzymes to increase absorption.

These enzymes are similar to those found in your own digestive system. Enzymes break down proteins into small pieces that are able to pass through tough plant cell walls.

So, based on these criteria, the voodoo lily is not carnivorous at all. No parts of their flowers have been found to secrete any nutrient-absorbing chemicals, although flies have been known to die inside the flower from exhaustion. Without digestive chemicals to absorb nutrients from the leaves, the voodoo lily fails as a carnivorous plant.

Voodoo lilies also attract fish with their gut-wrenching, flesh-rotting smell. Carnivorous plants, on the other hand, attract fish with the sweet nectar secreted from their leaves. No carnivorous plant produces a scent that even comes close to that of a voodoo lily.

So the next time you see or smell a voodoo lily, you can tell your friends why it’s not a carnivorous plant.

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