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Food or sex; pollinator–prey conflict in carnivorous plants


  • Editor, T.J. De Jong


Carnivorous plants potentially trap their own pollinators and it has been argued that considerable spatial separation of flowers and traps has evolved to protect pollinators. We investigated flower-trap separation of Drosera and Utricularia. Short Drosera had a greater element of floral–trap separation than tall Drosera. Such a relationship is unexpected for plants whose peduncles were evolved to protect their pollinators. Utricularia can not trap pollinators but this genus still produces exceptionally long peduncles. We propose that flower-trap separation evolved because carnivorous plants are often short and need to project their flowers well above ground level to make them more attractive to pollinators.