Friday, January 29, 2010

Carnivorous Potatoes?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM

783px-BakedPotatoWithButter.jpg

Vegetarians: Put down your tater tots. Under that unassuming tuber’s tawny skin lurks a beastly thirst for blood. According to botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England, Idaho’s famous export—along with petunias and campion flowers—should be added to the list of carnivorous plants.

Though spuds aren't on the same level as Venus fly-traps or pitcher plants, botanists determined that potatoes have evolved sticky hairs to trap and kill insects, which are then be absorbed through their roots in the form of nutrients. In an article published on msnbc.com, botanist Mark Chase from the Jodrell Laboratory at the Royal Botanic Gardens confirmed that assessment:

"Although a man-eating tree is fictional, many commonly grown plants may turn out to be cryptic carnivores, at least by absorbing through their roots the breakdown products of the animals that they ensnare," Chase said.

Though these findings might seem a little half-baked, it is pretty fun to dream up gruesome Attack of the Killer Potatoes scenarios.

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