That’s right everyone, today is the first
World Carnivorous Plant Day!!!
Before I get to showing-off my personal collection of “carnies”, a brief intro to the World of Carnivorous Plants would be in order. (‘Cause that’s how I roll…)
Carnivorous plants are predatory flowering plants that kill animals in order to derive nutrition from their bodies, but not all plants that trap or kill animals are considered carnivorous. Three factors are used to determine carnivory:
- Capture and kill prey
- Possess a system to digest the prey
- Receive significant benefits from the nutrients obtained from the prey
Most CP’s will grow just fine without consuming prey, but their development is faster and reproduction much better with prey-derived nutrients. Additionally, unlike plants which use their flowers to entice animals for purposes of reproduction (like stapelia and some aristolochia), carnivorous plants never use their flowers as traps. Their trapping mechanisms include: pitfall traps (pitcher plants), flypaper traps (like sundews and butterworts), snap traps (such as Venus flytraps), bladder traps (exclusive to Utricularia), and lobster-pot traps (used by Darlingtonia californica and Sarracenia psittacina, among others).
Carnivorous plants have evolved to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients (such as acidic bogs) – which is why you never want to use anything but distilled, reverse osmosis, or rainwater on your CP’s. The minerals in tap, filtered, and bottled water will eventually kill them.
Carnivorous plants can be found all over the world. Darlingtonia californica is native to California and Venus flytraps are indigenous to the Carolinas. Most sundews come from South Africa while the tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) love the Southeast Asian tropics from Australia, Malaysia, and India to Madagascar. Australia is the only place you’ll find the squat Cephalotus growing like bands of little trolls, while the vase-like Heliamphora originate from Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.
Approximately half of carnivorous plant species assessed by the IUCN are considered threatened (vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered) due to habitat loss, geologic events, climate change, severe weather, and many other anthropogenic (directly or indirectly caused by humans) activities. Among the threatened are: Venus flytraps, California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), Nepenthes attenboroughii, Sarracenia purpurea, Sarracenia leucophylla, Sarracenia psittacina, Nepenthes rajah, Pinguicula ionantha (a type of butterwort), and English sundew.
And now, without further ado, here’s my collection. (Many are way overdue for division and repotting. I’m fixing that this month!)