Carnivorous plants actively consume insects and even small animals by trapping them for their nutrients. The plants have evolved to collect nutrients in this unique way because, in their native habitats, they tend to grow in nutrient poor soils or regions. Several carnivorous plant varieties are epiphytes, which means they actively cling to trees and obtain all their nutritional needs through their unique hunting practices.
The catopsis ("Catopsis berteroniana") is an epiphyte that makes its home on large trees, which it holds on to with its roots. The plant must live on a tree because it is incapable of living in soil. Catopsis is bright yellow in color and forms a rosette of foliage. The leaves are thoroughly coated in a waxy, slippery substance, which helps to catch insects. Once the insects alight onto the plant, they begin to slip and slide into the plants center, where they are readily consumed.
The Venus flytrap ("Dionaea muscipula") traps its insect victims within its clamshell-like foliage. The plant grows from rhizomes that flourish in wetlands. It normally attains a height of approximately 6 inches. Each May and June, the Venus flytrap flowers and then produces tiny seeds. The plant is a long-lived perennial. Once an insect is caught, it takes approximately three to five days to digest before the plant hunts again, according to Floridata.
The waterwheel ("Aldrovanda vesiculosa") is a carnivorous aquatic plant. The plant is widely grown in aquariums. It grows just below the waters surface. The waterwheel grows approximately 6 inches in height and floats its traps in the water. The traps are similar to the Venus flytraps clamshell foliage, but the waterwheel also has bristles that form a wheel pattern. The bristles aid in helping the foliage trap the insects. The plant enjoys a diet of water fleas, and in the wild, it will consume mosquito larvae.
The tropical pitcher plant ("Nepenthes sp.") often grows as a vine that readily climbs trees. Varieties are found throughout the Asian tropics. The leaf trap of the plant appears to be a large pitcher; it contains a sticky-sweet substance that readily attracts insects. Several species will hold up to a gallon of the sweet sticky substance within their pitcher shape. Pitchers can measure up to 24 inches in length.