Carnivorous plants are the celebrities of the plant world. While fiddle leaf figs and peace lillies are presented in magazines and websites as this season’s hottest interior trend, carnivorous plants remain somewhat of a mystery. A plant that survives mostly by trapping and consuming insects and other arhropods, carnivorous plants are paid a certain amount of respect, and are never treated like a fleeting trend.
1. Venus Flytrap
The Venus flytrap is one of the most well-known carnivorous plants and it eats mostly insects and arachnids. A small plant with around four to seven leaves that grow from a short stem, it’s the pair of terminal lobes that are hinged at the midrib that form the trap. The plant is said to be so advanced that it can tell the difference between live and non-living stimulus, and the lobes can snap shut in 0.1 seconds.
2. Monkey Cups
The monkey cup plant is found is tropical areas such as Borneo, Sumatra and Malaysia. The carnivorous plant is known as a monkey cup because monkeys have been seen drinking water from them in rain forests, as monkey cup vines produce a leaf called a pitcher, which, can sometimes be big enough to hold more than a litre of water. Their cups passively collect and digest prey.
There are around 200 species of Sundew, and they all vary wildly in shape, size and growing requirements. Most are covered in tentacles which have glue-covered tips, and these tentacles can move, helping the Sundew to quickly suffocate and digest insects which have become stuck.
Butterworts, or flypaper traps, can be active or passive and rely on sticky mucilage directly on the leaf surface to capture prey. Butterworts are also known for their showy, orchid-like flowers in yellow, pink, purple or white blooms. These carnivorous plants love to eat gnats and are usually found in the US.
Named after it’s tiny bladders, the Bladderwort is a type of carnivorous plant that lives in open water and traps insects in a bladder that is like a suction bulb. According to the Botanical Society of America, tiny hair-like feelers at the opening of the bladder know when insects, such as fleas, land on the plant, which causes the flattened bladder to suddenly inflate, sucking in water, eating the animal and closing a trap door after it.
6. Lobster-Pot Plants
Named after the pots fisherman use to capture lobsters, the lobster pot is a carnivorous plant that catches prey when it enters the plant’s trap, which looks like a lobster pot. The prey is then unable to find its way out, and overlapping hairs within the plants’ trap force prey to only go down the leaf to where they are digested.
7. Catapulting Flypaper Trap
This carnivorous plant species possesses both flypaper (such as the Butterworts) and snap-trapping (like the Venus fly trap) abilities. Endemic to Australia, this carnivorous plant catches its prey with sticky outer tentacles. When the prey puts pressure on these tentacles, plant cells break underneath it and send the object catapulting towards the center of the plant, where it’s eaten.