Information About Carnivorous Plants


Carnivorous plants have adapted to low-nutrient environments by modifying their leaves to snare, kill and digest prey. Over 600 carnivorous plant species have been documented worldwide. Carnivorous plants are generally classified as having active, semi-active or passive traps.


Common carnivorous plant varieties include the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), butterworts (Pinguicula), bladderworts (Utricularia subulata), corkscrew plants (Genlisea) and various pitcher plants.


Carnivorous plants with active traps use quick movements to trap prey, while those with semi-active traps close around their prey over several hours. Passive traps are typically tube-shaped snares that lead the prey into an inescapable pit.


While a majority of plants obtain necessary nitrogen from the soil with their roots, carnivorous plants obtain nitrogen from their prey through their modified leaves.


Carnivorous plants trap and digest a variety of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and even small mammals. These plants primarily eat insects, so are also referred to as insectivorous plants.


Carnivorous plants have evolved in locations with poor soil but abundant clean water and sunlight. These plants are primarily found in fens, peaty swamps and bogs.


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Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like and, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.