Carnivorous Plant Facts

Carnivorous Plant Facts image by Wikimedia Commons
Carnivorous Plant Facts image by Wikimedia Commons


Flowering plants that capture and digest animals as a source of nitrogen are labeled "carnivorous." Botanists have described more than 670 species and subspecies of these types of plants. Carnivorous plants thrive in wetlands and bog areas, and need plenty of sunlight. Many types can be grown outside in a bog garden all year.

Characteristics of Carnivorous Plants

To be classified as a carnivorous plant, flowering plants must possess the following characteristics: Plants must have a clear means of capturing it prey; prey must die while in the captivity of the plant; plants must be able to digest the prey into a form that can be absorbed; and plants must be able to assimilate the nutrients from the digested prey.

Types of Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants are grouped by their trapping mechanisms. There are five basic types, categorized as passive or active: pitfall traps, flypaper traps, snap traps, bladder traps and lobster-pot traps.

Reproductive Fact

Carnivorous plants reproduce by producing seeds (sexual reproduction). In some cases, the plant divides, causing asexual reproduction.


More than 95 percent of the U.S. carnivorous plant habitat has been destroyed through the degradation of U.S. wetlands.

Ethnobotanical Uses

Ethnobotany is the study of plants in their relationship to people. Ethnobotanical uses of carnivorous plants include milk curdling and rope making. Some types have also been used in Australia as a food sweetener.

Drosera capensis bend.


Carnivorous plants can be purchased and grown at home. Some popular types include sundew plants, pitcher plants and Venus flytraps. To be successful, home conditions must simulate the natural habitat of the plant.


  • The International Carnivorous Plant Society
  • Carnivorous Plants
  • Carnivorous Plants and the Fast Moving Sensitive Plant
Keywords: Carnivorous plants, Meat-eating plants, Plants that eat meat

About this Author

Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for various websites. Degraff holds a master's degree in communications design from Pratt Institute.

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons