Friday Film: Powerful Plants

Categories: teaching resources
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Published on: October 12, 2012

If you thought that plants were stationary, lazy beings, think again. Bladderworts are water-dwelling carnivorous plants that trap prey by storing elastic energy in the trap body and releasing it by very fast opening and closing of a water-tight trap door. This video was made by Phillippe Marmottant and his research group from Grenoble, who published the mechanism of bladderwort action in their 2011 paper.

Another super fast plant is the dogwood species, Cornus canadensis, whose flowers explode faster than a rifle shot as they disperse their pollen.

While exploding plants and super-suction make for exciting viewing, they happen too fast for the human eye to see without the benefit of slow motion footage. It is possible to show slightly slower plant reflexes to students in schools, though – SAPS have a carnivorous plants information page and worksheets.

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