20160722A.jpgDid you know that the sticky hairs found on the stems of tomato plants are designed to trap small insects? Or that these die and fall to the ground where they are absorbed by the roots of the plant after their decomposition?

That is why scientists have recently described the tomato as being a carnivorous plant. It is, though, just a passive carnivore. The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is an example of active carnivore: its trap reacts to and closes on any insects that visit it.

The potato is also a passive carnivore, as is another cousin, the petunia (all three are members of the Solanaceae). Other passive carnivores includes species of geranium, silene and lychnid.

Now that the sordid past of tomatoes and potatoes is increasing known, the question that remains is… how will vegetarians react to the news? Will they still be willing to eat vegetables that are carnivorous?

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Tomatoes are Carnivorous

  1. Pingback: The Plant That May Have Driven Vikings Berserk – Laidback Gardener

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