Botanical Institute and Botanical Garden - Dept. Systematics and Biodiversity
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Genlisea: A carnivorous plant acting as a trap for Protozoa 

Wilhelm BARTHLOTT, Stefan POREMBSKI, Eberhard FISCHER & Björn GEMMEL:
Leaves of puzzling plant trap protozoan prey. - Nature, 2. April 1998 

Carnivorous plants have attracted the attention of scientists since Charles Darwin's fundamental book "Insectivorous Plants" in 1875. But only now, we could proof that Genlisea is definitely carnivorous. The uniqueness of this finding in the plant kingdom is twofold: Genlisea specializes in protozoa and, secondly, its prey is attracted chemically.

For detailed information please look into NATURE. But here are seven illustrations of this remarkable plant:
 
1. Schematic drawing of Genlisea ornata (after GOEBEL and TROLL) 

 
 

2. The purple flowering Genlisea stapfii in Ivory Coast (West Africa). Note the basal rosette of green leaves. - Foto: W. Barthlott 
 
3. Single yellow flower of Genlisea roraimensis from Venezuela. - Foto: W. Barthlott 

4. Total plant of Genlisea margaretae from Madagascar with a small rosette of green leaves and a large bundle of roots-like subterranean leaves acting as traps. Scale in centimeters. - Foto: W. Barthlott 
5. View of  a trap of Genlisea margaretae with rows of hairs preventing the prey to escape. - SEM micrograph Barthlott et al. 

6. Inside of a trap of Genlisea margaretae with rows of hairs preventing the prey to escape. - SEM micrograph Barthlott et al. 

7. The trap of Genlisea aurea from Brazil in action: protozoa (Paramecium) are attracted and enter the openings. - Light micrograph Barthlott et al. 


University of Bonn | Botanical Institute | Dept. Systematics and Biodiversity
Jens Mutke 26.3.1998 URL:  http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/biodiv/genlisea.htm