Giant Carnivorous Plants


Some flowering plants have evolved to eat and digest insects. The plants use the insects as a source of nitrogen. There are two types of carnivorous plants: passive and active. A passive carnivorous plant captures its prey with "pitfalls" that their prey fall into and become trapped. Active carnivorous plants actively clamp down on their prey, trapping them within their flowers. The most recognized active carnivorous plant is the Venus fly trap. There are some species of carnivorous plants that are so large that they are classified as "giant carnivorous plants."

Amorphophalls Titanum

Amorphophallus titanum--also known as "devil's tongue"--is a giant carnivorous plant that can grow larger than a man. This native of Malaysia produces an erect phallic flower stalk called a spadix that grows over eight feet tall. The spadix emerges from a vase-shaped flower-sheath that is over four feet tall and twelve feet in circumference. The plant is a passive carnivorous plant, which uses its foul stench to attract flies and other pests, which become trapped within the flower's cup.

Nepenthes attenboroughii

Nepenthes attenboroughii was discovered in 2000 in the Philippines by two missionaries who had become lost in the on Mount Victoria. The plant uses passive methods to catch its prey: they create tube-like leaves, in which insects and small animals become trapped. The plant eats insects and rodents as big as rats.

Darlingtonia Californica

Darlingtonia Californica is more commonly known as the cobra lily. The cobra lily lures its prey with a sugary nectar which is under its hood. The insect is confused by the transparent areas of the leaf surfaces, which it mistakes for exits. The insect becomes trapped within the tubular structure. It is impossible for the insect to exit the plant because the interior surface of the cobra lily is slick. Insects become exhausted and fall into a digestive enzyme, where the plant digests and absorbs it.


Sarracenia is recognized for its resemblance to a hooded villain. For this reason, it is known by its more common name, the "hooded pitcher plant." This odd similarity to a cowled or hooded villain. Because of this appearance, it has earned the name "hooded pitcher plant." This carnivorous plant ensnares its prey within its pitcher, after they fly or wander under the hood.

Growing Requirements

Carnivorous plants are native to rain forests and tropical locales. They require moist, rich soil for proper growth. Those grown in homes or greenhouses should be misted often and covered with glass domes in order to trap moisture and provide a humid environment for the plant.

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About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.