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The First Carnivorous Plant is Common Canadian Flower

In the Plant realm, there’s a new flesh-eating flower. Despite the white flower’s widespread distribution in the Pacific Northwest, the carnivorous cutie is the first of its kind to be discovered in 20 years. According to Sean Graham of the University of British Columbia, they had no notion it was carnivorous. The flower, known as a western false asphodel, was initially discovered in 1879, but scientists didn’t realise it ate meat until recently.

Researchers were working on a different project when they discovered that the asphodel, Triantha occidentalis, has a genetic loss similar to that seen in other carnivorous Plant. Scientists also discovered that the blossom possessed characteristics that could be useful. Graham added, “This was not found in some exotic tropical location, but really right on our doorstep in Vancouver. You could literally walk out from Vancouver to this field site.”

There are less than 1,000 known species of carnivorous Plant, which tend to grow in sunny, rainy areas with low-nutrient soil, resulting in their adaptation to eat flesh. Researchers tracked the Triantha  intake of nitrogen-15 isotopes that began in laboratory fruit flies that scientists had placed on the  adhesive stem to prove the blossoms were collecting nutrients from insects. The flies were responsible for 50% of the nitrogen content of the Plant after feeding.

They also observed that the stem’s microscopic hairs release a digesting enzyme similar to that seen in other carnivorous Plant. It’s the first time such a  has used its stalk to trap and eat insects. Graham said, “I suspect that there might be more carnivorous  out there than we think.”

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