Insectivorous Plants eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 462 pages of information about Insectivorous Plants.

The plants were collected in the middle of July; and the contents of five bladders, which from their opacity seemed full of prey, were examined.  The first contained no less than twenty-four minute fresh-water crustaceans, most of them consisting of empty shells, or including only a few drops of red oily matter; the second contained twenty; the third, fifteen; the fourth, ten, some of them being rather larger than usual; and the fifth, which seemed stuffed quite full, contained only seven, but five of these were of unusually large size.  The prey, therefore, judging from these five bladders, consists exclusively of fresh-water crustaceans, most of which appeared to be distinct species from those found in the bladders of the two former species.  In one bladder the quadrifids in contact with a decaying mass contained numerous spheres of granular matter, which slowly changed their forms and positions.

Utriculariaclandestina.

This North American species, which is aquatic like the three foregoing ones, has been described by Mrs. Treat, of New Jersey, whose excellent observations have already been largely quoted.  I have not as yet seen any full description by her of the structure of the bladder, but it appears to be lined with quadrifid processes.  A vast number of captured animals were found within the bladders; some being crustaceans, but the greater number delicate, elongated larvae, I suppose of Culicidae.  On some stems, “fully nine out of every ten bladders contained these larvae or their remains.”  The larvae “showed signs of life from twenty-four to thirty-six hours after being imprisoned,” and then perished. [page 431]

CHAPTER XVIII.

UTRICULARIA (continued).

Utricularia montana—­Description of the bladders on the subterranean rhizomes—­Prey captured by the bladders of plants under culture and in a state of nature—­Absorption by the quadrifid processes and glands—­Tubers serving as reservoirs for water—­Various other species of Utricularia—­Polypompholyx—­Genlisea, different nature of the trap for capturing prey—­ Diversified methods by which plants are nourished.

Fig. 26. (Utricularia montana.) Rhizome swollen into a tuber; the branches bearing minute bladders; of natural size.

Utricularia montana.—­This species inhabits the tropical parts of South America, and is said to be epiphytic; but, judging from the state of the roots (rhizomes) of some dried specimens from the herbarium at Kew, it likewise lives in earth, probably in crevices of rocks.  In English hothouses it is grown in peaty soil.  Lady Dorothy Nevill was so kind as to give me a fine plant, and I received another from Dr. Hooker.  The leaves are entire, instead of being much divided, as in the foregoing aquatic species.  They are elongated, about 1 1/2 inch in breadth, and furnished with a distinct footstalk. 

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