Speed Reading — Carnivorous plants - Level 5 — 400 wpm

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Botanists have found a new, carnivorous plant. It is the western false asphodel – a white flower that is common along the Pacific Northwest coastline of the USA and Canada. It was actually first discovered in 1879, but botanists back then did not realise the innocent-looking flower was a meat eater. Researchers have recently discovered that sticky, tiny hairs along the flower's stem produce a digestive enzyme used by other carnivorous plants to trap insects. Professor Sean Graham from the University of British Columbia said: "We had no idea it was carnivorous."

There are fewer than 1,000 carnivorous plant species. The western false asphodel is the first to be discovered in 20 years. Professor Graham said: "I suspect that there might be more carnivorous plants out there." He believes people will be surprised that the familiar asphodel is a carnivore. Co-researcher Dr Qianshi Lin said the asphodel is "unique" because "it traps insects near its insect-pollinated flowers". He added: "This seems like a conflict between carnivory and pollination because you don't want to kill the insects that are helping you reproduce."

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