Science on the Cutting Edge


Carnivorous Vegetation: It was a special occasion in Surrey, England, in June as a rare plant prepared to bloom. The 3-foot-tall Puya chilensis, native to Chile, features neon-bright greenish-yellow flowers with blooms large enough to yield drinkable nectar, but its most startling distinction is its ability to nourish itself by trapping small animals in its razor-sharp spines, leaving them to decay. At Britain's Wisley Garden, it's fed with ordinary fertilizer rather than animals.

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