If necessary, it becomes carnivorous: hooked leaf or trifoliate (Triphyophyllum peltatum) It occurs exclusively in some West African rainforests and forms a liana that can reach 70 meters in length. But optionally, tropical plants can enter the carnivorous stage. The plant then develops trapping leaves with droplets of secretion that trap insects and then digest them with special enzymes. The transformation of the hooked leaf into a carnivorous species is so far unique in the plant world, but the motivation behind it has not yet been explored.
For the first time, researchers have succeeded in growing hookworms in a greenhouse and thus closely monitoring their unusual behavior. “We exposed the plant to different stress factors, including deficiencies of different nutrients, and examined how it reacted to each of them,” says Traud Winkelmann from the Institute of Horticultural Production Systems at Hannover University. In a press release “We were only able to observe the formation of traps in one condition: when there was a phosphorus deficiency.” In fact, a phosphorus supply dropping significantly enough for the hooked leaf to evolve into a carnivorous plant, according to Scientist.
It is native to African tropical forests in nutrient poor soils Triphyophyllum peltatum Thus avoiding imminent malnutrition by catching and digesting insects with traps and thus obtaining the important nutrient. “These new findings represent a major advance because they allow future molecular analyzes that will help understand the origins of carnivores,” explain the scientists from Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU). In their publication of the results in the journal New Phytologist«.
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