Flower Power Devour

Could flower power take a bite out of the energy crisis? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Most plants get their energy from the sun, but carnivorous plants eat ANIMALS! They each have a special way to trap their prey. Could this inspire new energy-harnessing sources?

Enter Anne-Kristin Lenz and a team from the University of Bristol. They looked to the carnivorous pitcher plant! These narrow, bag-shaped plants trap bugs inside of them with a retractable lid. Kind of like a motion sensing trash can! 

The researchers scanned over ten plants and used computers to model them. Then, they viewed the chambers of their VIRTUAL plants and studied how they work!

Turns out the plant uses geometry! When rain hits the lid, a spring mechanism in the stem activates. This causes the lid to close, energy free! 

With this discovery, the researchers hope we’ll develop better energy-harvesting devices. Maybe even ones that rely on rain and springs!

Talk about putting PETAL to the metal!


Lenz, A.-K., & Bauer, U. (n.d.). Pitcher geometry facilitates extrinsically powered ‘springboard trapping’ in carnivorous Nepenthes gracilis pitcher plants. Biology Letters, 18(8), 20220106. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2022.0106