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The Curious World of Carnivorous Plants: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Biology and Cultivationby William Barthlott
Synopses & Reviews
Plants that trap and eat animals: an amazing phenomenon that has inspired awe since before the days of Darwin. The victims may be flies and butterflies, small crustaceans, or even vertebrates the size of rats.
Lured into the danger zone by optical, tactile, and olfactory strategies, the prey succumb to ingenious traps and face their doom. But unlike plants that temporarily catch insects for pollination, the true carnivores go considerably further: they digest them for the nutrients they need to survive in extremely inhospitable sites on land and in water.
Anyone captivated by the unearthly beauty of the "flowers of evil" will treasure this stunning, encyclopedic exploration, which also includes animal-trapping mosses and fungi, as well as advice for growing and buying carnivorous plants and an extensive international bilbliography. It is an essential reference for hobbyist, naturalist, and collector alike.
Book News Annotation:
Like the carnivorous plant in the play The Little Shop of Horrors, Venus flytraps, bladderworts, sun dews, and other plants that digest insects and other small creatures were once considered unnatural. Barthlott (U. of Bonn) and fellow German botanists cover all aspects of these fascinating plants of some 630 known species: their habitats, distribution, evolution of this unique feeding mode, and cultivation needs. The generalist guide (which was first published in German in 2004) includes well-illustrated plant profiles, a glossary, and specialist plant societies and sources. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Wilhelm Barthlott is head of the Nees Institute of Plant Biodiversity and director of the botanical gardens at the University of Bonn where he has developed one of the world's largest carnivorous plant collections.
Stefan Porembski is director of the botanical garden and botanical institute at the University of Rostock where he studies the ecology of tropical carnivorous plants.
Rüdiger Seine is an astronaut trainer at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne. His doctorate focused on tropical ecology and the systematics of the sundews.
Inge Theisen studies the molecular genetics and evolution of the bladderworts at the Nees Institute of the University of Bonn.
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