Killer tobacco plant: a new entry to the insectivores– Erakina
Tobacco is the general name among the plants which come under the Nicotiana genus of the Solanaceae family. The most typically produced and used species is N.tabacum.
Tobacco is considered to be a gem among the plants as its economical value and demand are very high. They are highly demanded and produced by most of the countries like China, India, Pakistan, the US etc.
The discovery of a new species of this family has caused a stir in the biologists and researchers of the world. Being unknown with unique characteristics for so many years has raised thousands of queries in the minds of scientists… So let us meet the recent one in the family…
Australia has allowed bringing this new species into the limelight. Seven new species of tobacco have been discovered by the scientists of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Curtin University and the University of Vienna.
All the species of tobacco are found to be normal except for one reason of abnormality. A tobacco species has been found in the research which is an insectivorous plant. No other species in the family of N.tabacum is insectivorous except this one…
It has been named the Killer Tobacco plant. The scientific name is Nicotiana Insecticida.
It has been observed in the nursery of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London to possess such a quality.
The species was found in the dry, arid regions of Western Australia after a toil of eight long years by scientists.
How did the secret come out?
The story of its revelation is as unique as its characteristics are…
At a bus stop in Western Australia, the scientists were amused to see a wild tobacco plant, all wrapped by small insects. It looked like a grave of small insects like moths, gnats, fleas and aphids.
Being covered in sticky hairs the insects appeared to be struggling for their lives and freedom. The seeds of the killer tobacco plant were transported to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London and planted in their greenhouse.
The actual results could now be seen by the scientists here that these plants are ‘murderers’ of insects. What the researchers observed was, the plant has a sticky surface to which these small insects get stuck and unable to get freed.
Though the plant doesn’t show any signs of eating those stuck insects, so it can’t be treated as a Carnivorous plant, but the insects do face death sometime later.
The newly discovered plant has given the proof of being quite different from the others in its family….
Conclusions about the new one
Scientists have found that the plant does not use the imprisoned insects for eating or drawing nutritional values from them, they have drawn certain conclusions about the killer tobacco plant like:-
- The killer tobacco’s sticky surface is just for their protection from being damaged by insects.
- They capture the insects to save themselves from being chewed upon by such insects.
- It can survive in the arid, barren and heat conditions of Western Australia.
- They don’t consume the insects, so they are not carnivorous.
Chase behind the discovery
Though the chase behind every discovery is very long and exhausting, it becomes a harbinger of good results if successful. This discovery was also a constructive outcome of eight long years of day and night suffering.
The fieldwork in the parched, dry and barren Western Australia was supervised and accomplished by Chase and Maarten Christenhusz, a senior researcher at Plant Gateway Limited, with his offices located in the U.K. and Netherlands.
The results though were shocking concerning the existence and survival of the killer tobacco plant in such a dry environment of that part of Australia.
In the end…
Humans have always been on a constant search for new things, animals, plants, creatures etc. The success rate is also very high because scientists stand firm with their research.
It is a well-known fact that it takes a long time, patience and skill to do successful research on anything. But the respect for them is immeasurably huge….
–by SAMBHAVI YADAV