Meat-Eating Plant Traps Worms Underground

Patches of white sand dot the Campos Rupestres savanna in Brazil’s central highlands. One of the strangest plants that thrives in these tracts of nutrient-poor soil is a spiny, purple-flowered genus called Philcoxia, which inexplicably grows with its leaves buried underground. Researchers have now discovered why: The leaves are a snare for tiny worms that the plant absorbs and eats.

The strategy makes sense in the plant’s barren, rocky environment – despite the apparently counterproductive adaption of burying light-harvesting leaves underground in the dark. Learn more here or here.


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