Literature Review: A Surprisingly Carnivorous Plant

by Carl Strang

Among the most insidious of our invasive plants are two species of teasels, unfortunate imports from Europe.

Here’s one of them, the cut-leaved teasel.

One of the studies which caught my eye this past year demonstrated that the other species behaves like a carnivorous plant (Shaw PJA, Shackleton K (2011) Carnivory in the Teasel Dipsacus fullonum — The Effect of Experimental Feeding on Growth and Seed Set. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17935. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017935). Dipsacus fullonum, AKA D. sylvestris, the common teasel, has water-holding leaf bases. Shaw and Shackleton experimentally added insects to these little cups, and found that this led to improved seed set and a higher proportion of plant biomass in seeds. Plant growth and total biomass were connected more to rosette size, which in turn is indicative of first season, non-carnivorous growth in this biennial.


1 Comment

  1. December 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    very interesting post!

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