these plants that feed on… excrement!

Plants normally obtain nutrients from the soil, absorb water and minerals through their roots, and carry out photosynthesis using sunlight. However, in some environments where the soil is particularly poor, plants have developed surprising strategies to survive and thrive, such as using animal droppings as food. An explanation of an unusual and fascinating natural phenomenon.

These plants that feed on excrement: carnivorous plants

Traditionally, carnivorous plants they obtain nutrients by trapping small insects in leaves and slowly digesting them. However, in Borneo (an island in Southeast Asia), species of carnivorous plants, the so-called “at the ballot box”have evolved differently to accommodate a inhospitable environment. “Instead of eating insects, they collect shrew droppings which sit on their cup-shaped urns and feed on the fatty secretion they produce. “, explains Alastair Robinson, a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Australia, for National Geographic magazine. This allows these landscape plants “get twice as much nitrogen as low-lying areas”without exerting too much effort and compensate for the lack of insects and nutrientsdue to altitude.

These plants that feed on excrement: guano

Guano, which is droppings of seabirds, bats or sealsis a land amendment very rich in nutrients. Some plants have specialized in this fertilizer and grown exclusively in guano-enriched areas, in or near guano deposits, utilizing its high content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These plants are often found on islands or coastal areas where seabirds and bats breed and leave large amounts of excrement.

These plants that feed on excrement: dung

And finally, probably the best-known use of excrement in the plant world is use of manure as fertilizer in agriculture. Manure, whether from cows, horses, chickens or other farm animals, is rich in nutrients essential as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Farmers spread it on their fields until enrich the soilimprove its structure and feed your crops : therefore it is not so rare to come across plants that feed on excrement!

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