Plants can sometimes be a little alien to us. These living creatures often need little more care than a quick watering or an infrequent spray, and yet sat in a pot of shallow soil these green things seem to thrive. With so many needs ourselves and with food being a constant one throughout our day, plants that absorb their nutrients from the soil, away from our sight and in a process that doesn’t involve anything similar to how we eat can be perplexing. This is probably why the carnivorous plant is such a hit, especially with kids. Its far easier to understand a pet that eats, after all our dogs, cats, bunnies and even leopard geckos all do it, so why cant we watch out plant enjoy a good meal? There are several varieties of carnivorous plant which can be easily purchased as a house plant and provide not just a touch of green, or entertainment but can also double up as a great help when it comes to spring and insects are back to bug you. Here are the most common ones you should be able to find at your garden center.
Venus fly Trap
This is obviously the superstar of the carnivore plants. The Venus fly trap is world renowned for its stalks that hold a classic trap mechanism on the tip, this snaps closed on unsuspecting prey much like a bear trap. In the plants case however the insect is completely trapped inside the grasp of the plant and is slowly digested as acids are pumped in. TV and film are no doubt the reason why this insect eater is so well known, exaggerated in fiction such as Little Shop Of Horrors and Jumanji, the idea of a plant that thirsts for meat has been used to create lots of creepy characters.
There are several types of pitchers from different regions, some of which look quite different in shape and size. Tropical pitchers often more vibrant in colour hang from tendrils, north American ones are long and slim and the cobra lily is swollen at its tip and folds in upon itself. No matter the breed the pitchers catch their prey in the same way, enticing passing bugs into their pitcher through colour, scent and the allure of nectar. Once inside however the minibeast is doomed thanks to several methods of containment that include the common trap door or inwards facing hairs and labyrinthine passages. Eventually the plant consumes its prey by drowning it in its digestive fluid.
This lesser known master of luring small creatures in is native to South Africa and it looks dramatically different from the pitcher. This little plant looks quite delicate with its petite and visually fuzzy arms reaching out towards the sky. But don’t be fooled by its appearance, once insects set foot on the ends of this plant they are caught in the sticky glue that covers it and then its tentacles drag the prey inward. Curling its extremities around the captured invertebrate and drawing them into its center it then consumes its catch.