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.”
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.”