This film is about the only living beings that can replenish our atmosphere with oxygen. All other living beings depend on them. Plants are the first link in a long chain of life, but this silent green army’s job has not been easy. They have had to develop shrewd survival strategies which contain surprising secrets to ensure their own continuance. These secrets have turned some of them into terrifying traps, magnificent giants, or hidden assassins.
One would erroneously think that all a plant needs is soil and water. But the truth is that some plants cannot survive only on nutrients from the soil. These are known as carnivorous plants and they are able to create appetizing bait in order to catch food. Invertebrates are attracted to them because of their smell.
For instance, the Venus flytrap. This plant has two sensitive leaves that emit a sweet smell. Once the unsuspecting prey lands on one of the leaves, together they act like jaws that close upon it quickly. A relative of the Venus flytrap, the Sundew has a different hunting method; the glands on its leaves let off a substance that smells like a nectar. This attracts certain insects that then become trapped in a sticky liquid from which they just can’t escape.
Insects are trapped in different ways according to the species. Some plants produce a gel-like structure and a lid that closes tightly to keep their trapped prey from escaping. Other carnivorous plants store a poisonous liquid that drowns their victims. Plants can also be efficacious predators.
Other plants have come up with their own mechanisms to adapt and survive. For example, the extraordinary palm. There are around 2,600 species and they are found distributed throughout the tropical and temperate areas of our planet. The “bark” is made of close knit fibers. Some have leaves that are protected by sharp thorns and others can be up to 15 meters in length. We humans use the palm tree to get food, oil, wax, fiber, wood, and even to make roofs from its dry leaves.
Other plants are used for their hallucinogenic effect, a practice that is thousands of years old and is usually tied to spiritual rituals among members of ancient tribes and groups.
This is just a taste of what this documentary has to offer. The Secret World of Plants reveals the most unknown and fascinating aspects of the Vegetable Kingdom.