You know about me and tomatoes. My fascination with this plant is almost (almost) absurd, but I just keep finding more reasons to love the tomato. If you've grown tomatoes for very long, you've probably already noticed that they seem to have the ability to trap insects, due to a slightly sticky substance on the "hairs" that grow along the stem. What researchers at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew found was that the tomato plants weren't just trapping insects: they are actually able to use nutrients from the decomposing insects' bodies to self-fertilize. Researchers also concluded that we don't see this phenomenon all the time in our gardens because the domesticated plants are taking up plenty of nutrients from the soil (because we do baby our tomatoes when we plant them, don't we?) but that, in the wild, they probably trap insects much more frequently.
And it's not just tomatoes. Other formerly "innocent" plants have been found to have this same ability, including potatoes, nicotiana, and petunias.
I loved this quote from the researchers, who published their findings in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society: "We may be surrounded by many more murderous plants than we think."
Murderous tomatoes. Gotta love it!