Feed me, Seymour!

5 of nature's most metal plants

Illustrations by JoAnna Wendel

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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