Nutrient-poor soil means death for most plants. Carnivorous plants, however, make up for nutrient-poor soil by attracting and digesting live prey, thus supplementing their diet in a way that many gardeners find fascinating. These resourceful plants can be found all over the world, and hundreds of species of carnivorous plants grow throughout Asia.
Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) are carnivorous plants equipped with a "pitfall trap," a cup-like cavity filled with a liquid that digests any insect unfortunate enough to slip into its depths. One pitcher plant found in Asia is the Nepenthes micramphora, a tropical pitcher plant that is native exclusively to a mountain on an island in the Philippines. Despite its limited range, the plant thrives on the mountain and is not considered threatened or endangered. The climbing plant requires direct sunlight, and features pitcher cups that range in color from pale yellow-green to deep burgundy.
The waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda vesiculosa) resembles the world's most famous carnivorous plant, the Venus Flytrap. Native to four continents, including Asia, the waterwheel plant is a rootless aquatic plant that lures and catches small invertebrates. The waterwheel has free-floating stems that contain multiple traps, which close upon prey if the plant's trigger hairs are stimulated. Waterwheel plants grow in slightly acidic, warm shallow water are are often found near reed-like plants.
The alpine butterwort (Pinguicula alpina) is a temperate carnivorous plant that lives in high altitudes in Mongolia, Siberia, the Himalayas and parts of Europe and Scandinavia. The plant can be found in full sun in wet soils in bogs and alpine meadows. Species in the Pinguicula genus have a "fly paper" method of trapping prey, boasting sticky leaves that attract, trap and digest insects. The alpine butterwort is an herbaceous perennial that produces attractive white flowers in the spring and goes into winter dormancy during the colder months.