How do carnivorous plants survive in nitrate poor soil? In a word–very well! carnivorous plants are fleshy, short-lived plants that derive most or all of their nutrients from eating and trapping animals or other crustaceans, usually small crustaceans and insects. They grow well in dry, oxygen-free conditions, especially in soils that are poor in nitrogen.
A common problem faced by many gardeners is the development of a weed barrier in the form of reddish or fleshy matting on the underside of the leaves. This condition is a common result of too much water or improper fertilization. The plants will then restrict their growth to only a few leaves or even none at all. The first thing you must do to solve this problem is to aerate your soil. You do this by removing the topmost 1″ or more of soil and replacing it with new material. Beneficial insects can also help control the growth of weeds by feeding them when they are young.
Some common species used for growing carnivorous plants include Venus flytraps and Shasta daisy orbean. There are many others including bloodroot, wild yam, false unicorn flower, phlox, and phloxartic. These species are available from your local nursery or your internet search engine. Be careful about the species you choose. Some are known to be invasive and have even been banned in other countries.
For your consideration some very good choices include true bloodroot, Shasta daisy orbean, and phlox. There are some insects that are beneficial to these species. They are called predators and are actually beneficial to your plants. Mites, ants, spiders, and some birds may be predators also. Many species of insects actually help to control or eliminate some of the pests you might have no trouble with.
One reason why carnivorous plants do not evolve independently is that they are not closely related. Each species evolved independently over thousands of years. Even though some do look like they can stand on their own, they cannot.
Some interesting plants which have evolved in such environments are pitcher plants and butterflies. There are two different groups of plants that have developed specific enzymes to help them trap ammonia. The group includes true bloods, butterworts, and sunsets while others do not have any enzymes at all.
Plants which have evolved special enzymes to produce a nitrogen absorbing sulfur reserve have been found by researchers to have specific predator species that feed on them. When you consider how do carnivorous plants live in nitrate poor soil, this becomes quite clear. The fact that the plant is able to protect itself from the creation of some very important predators is one thing. The ability of some of these plants to secrete these very important nutrients is another.
In conclusion, understanding the relationships between carnivorous plants and soil nutrients is important if you plan on planting some of these to improve your crops or as an ornamentation. These traits are also used by birds and other organisms in the wild. A better understanding of these adaptations may help us think about how do carnivorous plants live in Nitrate poor soils. They are not that different from other plants.
Two key features that all carnivorous plants have is their lack of net photosynthesis and their great capacity for eating their prey. The absence of net photosynthesis means that these plants have to obtain some of their nourishment from other means. This is why they are not true carnivores. Carnivores, on the other hand, eat their prey with their mouths rather than by consuming it through their digestive systems. Even though they lack net photosynthesis, plants that are considered true carnivores still use some forms of respiration in order to obtain nutrients.
The two kinds of respiration that these two groups of plants employ are via respiration and nitrifying metabolism. Biological respiration, which is common to all forms of carnivorous life, occurs when a plant’s metabolism breaks down plant matter to the point where there is an available source of oxygen. Nitrifying metabolism occurs in borderline carnivores where a process called nitrifying allows a plant to utilize nitrate for energy instead of using up the nitrogen found in plant material as fuel.
The very common pitcher plant, or Cyperus rotundus, is one example of a plant that uses respiration and nitrogen cycling to obtain food. In this case, the pitcher uses its own saliva to break down plant matter to a simpler form of the nutrient. The very rare Cattail, Eleocharis rosea, and the pitcher plant all utilize the wind for transport and respiration. Other examples of carnivorous plants include the Mexican saffron berry, the Oriental poinsettia, and the Shasta pitcher plant.