Carnivorous plants grow in wetlands where nutrients are scarce, so they turn to living creatures for their food.
photo credit: RainerBerns/Pixabay (public domain)
1. Most of the 600 carnivorous plant species can be divided into five categories: pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, bladderworts, and Venus flytraps
2. The comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors is about a man-eating plant named Audrey II and the bumbling florist who raises her.
3. After a tiny insect touches a bladderwort’s trigger hairs and is sucked in to be devoured, it takes the plant only 30 minutes or less to reset its trap.
4. White-top pitcher plants can grow up to 3 feet tall. And, thanks to their good looks, cultivated ones sometimes end up in floral arrangements.
5. Venus flytraps fascinated Charles Darwin. In his 1875 book Insectivorous Plants he described the Venus flytrap as “one of the most wonderful plants in the world.”
6. Spiriting away Venus flytraps from the wild is now a punishable felony. Perpetrators can expect as much as 25 to 39 months of jail time.
7. Slice open a pitcher plant and you’ll discover crunchy remnants of gobbled-up prey. In one summerlong study over 250 insect species were found inside a single yellow pitcher plant at the end of the season.
Kaitlin Stainbrook, Associate Editor, Birds & Blooms
Although Kaitlin is a newbie when it comes to birding and gardening, she loves getting to learn on the job. (She's already impressed a few friends by being able to identify a couple songbirds!) Previously, she worked on other Reader's Digest magazines like Reminisce and Country Woman. Hidden talents include playing the ukulele and speaking Japanese.