Utricularia vulgaris – bladderwort

Utricularia vulgaris is a free-floating carnivorous aquatic plant which traps prey in flattened bladders. This opaque gelatin model depicts detail of the bladder structure which is widely agreed to be one of the most spohisticated structures in the plant kingdom.

Each bladder has a mouth guarded by a hanging door, the stiff bristles near the lower edge act as the tripping mechanism. When a small animal brushes against the bristles the door snaps shut behind it . Enzymes and bacterial action break down the prey and nutrients are absorbed through the cell walls.

Drosera rotundifolia – sundew

Drosera rotundifolia or sundew is a carnivorous plant that is often found in bogs or marshes. This 30cm model represents a leaf only 4-10mm in size. The leaves grow on a long peitiole with club shaped hairs on the surface and secrete a clear sticky fluid which attacts and traps insects. When an insect is caught the hairs bend inward and the leaf curls around the insect. Enzymes secreted by the hairs as well as bacteria digest the insects and nutrients released from the prey are then absorbed by the glands that secrete the digestive enzymes.

Nepenthes destillatoria – pitcher plant

The pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant which traps prey in a pitcher shaped leaf modification growing from an extension of the leaf midrib called the tendril. The cup shaped trap contains fluid secreted by the plant in which the prey (usually insect) are trapped and drown. The lid or operculum over the pitcher may keep rain from diuting the fluid. Nutrients are absorbed by glands in the lower part of the cup.

Pisum sativum – pod and peas

The pea is a member of the legume family Fabaceae in the order Fabales. This is the 3rd largest family of flowering plants and contains many commercially valuable species.

This model shows the structure of the pea seed pod, also called legume. The model opens to show the arrangement of the seeds (peas) inside.

The collection also contains a model of the flower of this species.

23 Pisum pod open

Marchantia polymorpha – Archegonium and spore capsule

This model is one of a series depicting various stages of the complex lifecycle of this tiny liverwort species. Marchantia polymorpha is dioecious, with plants being either male or female and may reproduce sexually or asexually. The starshaped model is of an archegonium which contain female gametophytes and produces ova which will be fertilised by sperm from a male plant. The fertilised ovum will develop into a small sporophyte, this then produces spores in a spore capsule (pictured in the second photo) on its underside.  Spores are released and develop into free living gametophyte plants.