The Reading / Listening – Carnivorous plants – Level 4

Botanists have found that a common flower is actually carnivorous. The western false asphodel is found along the Pacific Northwest coastline of North America. It was first discovered in 1879. Botanists back then did not realise the flower was a meat eater. Researchers found that sticky, tiny hairs along the flower’s stem produce a chemical used by other carnivorous plants to trap insects. A professor said: “We had no idea it was carnivorous.”

There are fewer than 1,000 carnivorous plant species. The western false asphodel is the first to be found in 20 years. The professor believes “there might be more carnivorous plants out there”. Another researcher said the asphodel is “unique” because “it traps insects near its insect-pollinated flowers”. He added this was “like a conflict” between “carnivory” and survival. He said: “You don’t want to kill the insects that are helping you reproduce.”