List of Carnivorous Plants

List of Carnivorous Plants image by jo-h:www.flickr.com

The world of carnivorous plants is far stranger and more extensive than the commonly known examples of the Venus flytrap and pitcher plant. The criteria for considering whether a plant is carnivorous include its adaptations to capture prey and the presence of digestive enzymes, helper bacteria, or another way of benefiting from the nutrients in the prey that they capture.

Aldrovanda

This plant is also known as the "waterwheel plant" and is similar to an underwater Venus flytrap. Its leaves are arranged in a wheel shape with the leafy traps on the end of its arms.

Cephalotus

The Cephalotis follicularis is also known as the Albany pitcher plant. It was named after the city of Albany, Australia in southwestern Australia and primarily grows in that area. It is pitcher shaped and covered with bristles.

Darlingtonia

This plant, also known as the cobra lily, grows along the Pacific coast in patches from Oregon to California. It relies on bacteria and animals such as flying midges and slime mites to digest its prey.

Dionaea

The Dionaea muscipula, better known as the Venus flytrap, is the most famous of the carnivorous plants. Its native range is the lowlands of North Carolina. Their habitat is threatened, but they can be seen at Carolina Beach State Park near Wilmington, North Carolina.

Drosera

Droseras are also known as sundews. There are over 180 known species of drosera growing on every continent except for Antartica. Insects that land on their leaves are caught by adhesives and digested by enzymes. The leaves do move, like those of Venus flytraps, but the motion is very slow.

Drosophyllum

Drosophyllum, or the Dewy pine, is quite large for a carnivorous plant. Its individual leaves are over a foot tall and the entire plant can be up to two feet tall. It grows in arid regions along the Portuguese coast.

Genlisea

Genlisea are also known as corkscrew plants. They grow in wet habitats and their traps are located underwater. The trap structure is formed by curved hairs which only allow their prey to progress in one direction -- until it is too late.

Heliamphora

This genus is a type of pitcher plants that grown in the South American Highlands near the borders of Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana.

Nepenthes

Nepenthes are also known as tropical pitcher plants. Although they are most definitely carnivorous, there are over 150 species of animals that are known to go inside their pitchers without becoming prey. These animals range in size from mosquito larvae to frogs.

Pinguicula

These carnivorous plants are commonly known as butterworts. They have pretty flowers that rise far above their sticky leaves so that they do not consume their own pollinators.

Sarracenia

Sarracenia is also known as North American pitcher plants and range is primarily in the southeastern U.S. Their pitchers are narrow with slick sides and bottoms filled with digestive fluids and creatures such as mosquitoes, midges and flesh flies.

Utricularia

This genus contains over 220 species. Their common name is bladderwort and this gives a clue as to the operation of their traps. Small bladders pump out water from an interior chamber, which lowers the water pressure. Prey are sucked in and slowly digested.

Keywords: venus flytrap, sundew, pitcher plant

About this Author

Jenn Mercer is a Writer, Poet, and Translator (French > English) living in Raleigh, NC. She has Bachelors degrees in both English (Creative Writing) and French from NC State University. Mercer has been published in the Grapevine, Astropoetica, Talkin Blues, Nth Degree, the CATI Quarterly, The Fix, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for Kids.

Photo by: jo-h:www.flickr.com