Feed me, Seymour!

5 of nature's most metal plants

Illustrations by JoAnna Wendel

Originally Published: 

Plants are all around us.

Some are poisonous to their predators (or us), and some are harmless.

And some are totally metal.

Ghost plants: Known as mycoheterotrophs, these plants don't photosynthesize, they just steal nutrients from underground fungus.

Pitcher plants: Attracted by the pitcher plant’s sweet smell, insects land on the plant to investigate and fall inside, where they’re slowly digested by an acidic liquid.

Strangler fig: Starting as a seed wedged in the cracks of a tree’s trunk, the strangler fig slowly grows its own roots to steal nutrients from the host tree. Eventually, the roots can end up engulfing the entire host tree.

Cape Sundew: These carnivorous plants attract insects with droplets of sweet-smelling sticky liquid at the tips of tentacles protruding from their leaves. When an insect gets trapped by the sticky liquid, the leaf rolls it up and digests the protein-packed treat.

Giant Hogweed: The plant carries a toxic compound called furocoumarin to ward off predators...but it can also cause chemical burns in humans who accidentally brush up against it.

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