As water trickled down the mountain walls covered with ferns, moss, lichens and wildflowers – tiny insects and butterflies hovered around the flowers to settle down once in a while to sip nectar from the flowers. The lush green ferns complemented the tiny specks of stunningly beautiful flowers. A fairy tale setting indeed , little did we know that we were about to see the most incredible plant – the Uticularia striatula .
Tiny flowers of Impatiens species looked like dolls hanging from the stems. When touched the seed pods burst open,scattering seeds in all directions,seemingly impatient to broadcast the seeds.Hence the name impatiens .
As we browsed along the rocks for more flowers we chanced to see this flower which was different from the others. It was a phenomenal moment as we had found the Uticularia striatula .
Uticularia striatula is a carnivorous plants that can be found growing in wet moss and spongy bark on trees in rainforests. This plant catches its prey by using tiny capsules, which have doors on them that are lined with very sensitive bristles. If a micro organism touches the bristles , the door and the prey is tightly sealed inside in about half a millisecond. The bladderwort then secrets acids to digests its prey and within two hours the plant is ready to reset the trap to try and catch another tasty snack. Bladderworts are only big enough to eat small animals such as: paramecium,amoeba, water fleas, aquatic worms and mosquito larvae.
Click for the video where high-speed cameras capture the action of the carnivorous bladderworts suck in their prey — all in about half a millisecond proving that it is the smallest but fastest trap.
Credit: Interdisciplinary Physics Lab/CNRS and Joseph Fourier University, Plant Biomechanics Group/University of Freiburg
It is indeed amazing to see that though being small in size how brilliantly they trap micro organisms that are harmful to humans like amoeba and mosquito larvae.