Tomatoes: Carnivorous, Murderous

killer-tomatoes-nypostBritish botanists have discovered that tomatoes can "eat" insects; that is, their furry stems grasp the legs of small bugs and then, once they've died and fallen to the ground, the plant soaks up their nutrients through its roots. The researchers, publishing their findings in the wonderfully-titled article "Murderous plants: Victorian Gothic, Darwin and modern insights into vegetable carnivory" in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, concluded “We may be surrounded by many more murderous plants than we think."

Tomatoes aren't the only carnivorous vegetables out there, either: scientists estimate that there are up to 50% more carnivorous plants out there than previously thought, and these include petunias and some varieties of tobacco and potato plants.

Professor Mark Chase, of Kew and Queen Mary, University of London, told the Telegraph: "The cultivated tomatoes and potatoes still have the hairs. Tomatoes in particular are covered with these sticky hairs. They do trap small insects on a regular basis. They do kill insects." The researchers stated of their findings, "We are accustomed to think of plants as being immobile and harmless, and there is something deeply unnerving about the thought of carnivorous plants." To which we say: no shit.

—Paula Forbes

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