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Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's a Bog's Life

I recently gave a guided walk through a portion of our Eco Trail to a small group of city folks. Accompanying me was a typcally over-active young boy who displayed his sense of adventure by romping, and climbing, and racing back and forth along the trail......


......until we got to the bog.   I was only too glad to spend some quality time with this young lad once I'd sparked his sense of wonder and we settled in to explore the world of insectivorous plants.  Because bogs lack the nitrogen and other nutrients necessary to support the growth of these plants, they have had to adapt by consuming bugs!

When approaching this special wetland habitat, the very first plants you notice are the Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea) because they stand so tall and red, like sentries guarding the tangle of lower lying plants.





The basal leaves are modified into cuplike pitchers.
You can just make them out at the base of the plants in the first picture.


Within this cup lies some treacherous territory if you are an insect!
Filled with water to entice a thirsty bug,
and lined with short downward growing hairs
to prevent it from climbing back out,
it is the perfect trap. 
The pitcher plant then excretes it's special enzymes
to break down it's tasty treat,
and digests the nitrogen-containing compounds.
There is a spider that can negotiate the maze of hairs, however, 
with whom the pitcher plant shares some of it's catch.

If you see Pitcher Plants, look closely around the surface of the bog
for the tiny little Sundews (Drocera spp.), my personal favorites.
There are three species of Sundews in Nova Scotia,
and if I'm not mistaken, those pictured here are Drosera rotundiflora



Each little droplet seen on the tiny hairs of this plant's leaves
is a sticky substance that traps the unsuspecting victim. 
Once immobilized, the leaves will curl around the bug,
and enzymes will break down the carcass into useful nutrients.



Here are the tiny, sweet, delicate blooms of the Sundew. 

Bogs are home to many more beautiful species
of plant life.  This post could stretch into tomorrow
if I showed one picture of each!

.

15 comments:

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Spectacular photos and interesting story.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Steve Willson said...

Your bog is fantastic. I'd be happy to look at as many bog photos as you want to post. You could even throw in some puns like "It's a bogs life" or "The bog days of summer".

On another topic, it seems I now have the ant and rubber tree song stuck in my head. Wonder how that happened?

Audrey said...

Beautiful Photo's!! I saw a whole show on the Pitcher Plant a few months ago. It's beautiful and fascinating!

Niesz Vintage Home said...

Gorgeous photos! And thank you for the interesting bog tour. I'm sure the young hiker enjoyed it as well.

Kimberly :-)

Di said...

Great pix and info.

Midnight Mama said...

Karen,

Thanks for your kind comment on my Moda bakeshop tutorial. I appreciate you looking at my quilt and I'm glad you liked it.

I noticed that one of your blogs was about Flat Stanley. I also noticed that you were in education. I am too! My first graders last year did a Flat Stanley project. It was so fun.

Well, have a nice evening. Enjoy your summer break!

Hugs & stitches,
Jennifer

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: The Kent Bog is one of my favorite palces to go. I love to see the Pitcher Plants in all their glory.

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing the bog with us. Who knew it could be so colorful and filled with so many interesting plants?

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing the bog with us. Who knew it could be so colorful and filled with so many interesting plants?

The Early Birder said...

Something I don't get to see over here so today you are teaching me. How about having an over active 'oldie' as the student..lol.

Linda Reeder said...

This is a great post. The pitcher plants in bloom are gorgeous. I have seen them in bogs her, of course, but not the dew drops. Are Venus fly traps a kind of dew drop?

Denise said...

Absolutely fascinating. I have never seen these plants before. Evolution in nature is incredible. Great pictures and a great post, thanks Karen.
An English Girl Rambles

Powell River Books said...

We don't have a bog, but we do have lots of Sundews growing on the cedar logs at our floating cabin. One log serves as a barrier to form a natural swimming pool between our cabin deck and the rock wall on shore. It is covered with them every year. Unfortunate for the damsel flies, however. They seem to catch them with great regularity. - Margy

KimQuiltz said...

An illustrated story! I love learning.

mandapanda said...

Oh my goodness I love the flowers of the pitcher plants! I collect starfish flowers, so these really facinate me!