Many predatory plants are known in plants, but this is the first wild tobacco discovered to kill insects. A researcher called Nicotiana insecticida was found by researchers at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew on an Australian-wide tobacco research project.
A new type of wild tobacco has been discovered that catches aphids, flies and mosquitoes with its sticky capillary glands covering its surface. The plant was found on a highway resting place in Western Australia and when researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London’s Kew district planted its seeds in London, the plant similarly developed sticky insects that caught on in greenhouses.
The team collected seeds from a pesticide plant in the Northwest Coastal Road rest area and then planted them in Kew, where the plants developed the same sticky gland bristles and killed the insects in greenhouses.
The hairs that trick the insect into the trap are similar to those on predatory dew weeds, but it is not clear if the plant extracts nutrients from the insects it kills. “We have no evidence that the plant has any nutritional benefits,” says Mark Chase, a researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, adding that the team is organizing some tests to see if the plant absorbs a nutrient.
The plant may also benefit from the decomposition of a dead animal. The species may be like South African Rhodiola, which kills insects in the same way, Chase says. “There’s a beetle that lives on these plants and doesn’t fall into a sticky hair trap. It eats trapped insects and releases them to the ground and the plant uses that..” says Chase. However, there is no evidence yet that this occurs with tobacco Nicotiana insecteda.
Australia has not yet approved the commercial use of Nicotiana insecticida tobacco, and the collection permit requirement is for botanists because Chase strictly forbids them to grow it for commercial use.
However, Chase says Nicotiana insecticida tobacco is fairly easy to grow and can be used as a biological control agent to kill lice and mosquitoes in greenhouses.
This species is one of 7 new species of Nicotiana for Science described by the team.
(Forrás: A New World for Wildlife)
“Writer. Twitter specialist. Passionate social media ninja. Lifelong beer buff. Bacon fanatic. Wannabe web scholar. Devoted coffee maven.”