Take a close look. See how the red stalks rising from the leaf surface bear droplets of mucilage that hold the insect. The photo below shows how the stimulus of the contact makes adjacent stalks bend toward the insect, tying it down more securely. These same glands that secrete mucilage then exude digestive enzymes and later resorb the digested products as nutrition for the sundew.
Recently, I conducted a special leaf workshop called 'Leaves You Captive' for 25 homeschool kids. We learned what is a leaf and why a leaf is so important to the plant. We learned through many examples the great diversity of leaf forms and functions. A leaf can be very special - like the sundew, for example. In the wild, the leaf can make a difference to the survival of the plant. Besides helping to receive sunlight and produce sugar-food for the plant through photosynthesis, a leaf can help a plant to do all sort of marvellous things - to climb, to hold water, to provide food and home to symbiotic animal-friends, to attract pollinators to the flowers, to float, to protect the plant from predators, to trap insects, and yes, to help the plant reproduce vegetatively too!
John (above) is one of the homeschool kids who attended my workshop. He likes to share his learning experience with all his friends. [Thanks John! I am glad you enjoyed the workshop.] This is what he wrote:
What Uncle Joe showed us:
Uncle Joe showed us a plant called “Doodle”(Sounds like noodle; and looks like yellow noodles).He also showed us a type of fern that can make a silvery white mark on things. It is called Silver Fern.
What we did:
We went for a treasure hunt and I found the following plants: Sea Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Barrel Cactus, Bromelid, Kalanchoe, Sundew, Dischidia and Pitcher Plant.
Leaves can be oval shape, heart shape, round shape, sword shape, fan shape, oblong shape, spoon shape, toothed, feathery and lobed. The Pitcher Plant (also called monkey cup) and the Sundew are CARNIVOROUS!! Under the dead leaves of the Bird’s Nest Fern, there may be BATS.
What I saw and how I feel:
I saw a water skater, a LARGE SPIDER and a strange insect. I feel very happy because I learned a lot of things and I saw lots of INSECTS.
Other Information: 1) Leaf Workshop 'Leaves You Captive' 2) How to pot sundew and venus fly-trap from culture.