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Insectivorous Plants

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Author: Charles Darwin
Published: 1875
Language: English
Wordcount: 155,740 / 468 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 60.6
LoC Category: QH
Downloads: 2,206
mnybks.net#: 2031
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Science
Excerpt

ner than other insects. The largest kind which I have seen caught was a small butterfly (Caenonympha pamphilus); but the Rev. H.M. Wilkinson informs me that he found a large living dragon-fly with its body firmly held by two leaves. As this plant is extremely common in some districts, the number of insects thus annually slaughtered must be prodigious. Many plants cause the death of insects, for instance the sticky buds of the horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), without thereby receiving, as far as we can perceive, any advantage; but it was soon evident that Drosera was [page 3] excellently adapted for the special purpose of catching insects, so that the subject seemed well worthy of investigation.

The results have proved highly remarkable; the more important ones being--firstly, the extraordinary

FIG. 1.* (Drosera rotundifolia.) Leaf viewed from above; enlarged four times.

sensitiveness of the glands to slight pressure and to minute doses of certain nitrogenous fluids, as shown by the movements

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