In Pictures: The wonderful world of toothless carnivorous plants.

VENUS FLYTRAP

The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States in North Carolina and South Carolina. It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids—with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves, which is triggered by tiny hairs (called “trigger hairs” or “sensitive hairs”) on their inner surfaces.


BROCCHINIA REDUCTA

Brocchinia reducta is one of a few carnivorous bromeliads. It is native to southern Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana, and is found in nutrient-poor soil. B. reducta adapts to different environments, when growing on rocks it uses its roots as anchors.


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HORNED BLADDERWORT

Utricularia cornuta, the horned bladderwort, is a small to medium-sized, probably perennial carnivorous plant that belongs to the genus Utricularia. U. cornuta is endemic to North America and can be found in the Bahamas, Cuba, Canada, and the United States. It grows as a terrestrial or subaquatic plant in marshes, swamps, and pools in shallow waters, mostly at lower altitudes. It was originally described and published by André Michaux in 1803.

SUNDEW

Drosera, which is commonly known as the sundews, is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 194 species. These members of the family Droseraceae lure, capture, and digest insects using stalked mucilaginous glands covering their leaf surfaces. The insects are used to supplement the poor mineral nutrition of the soil in which the plants grow. Various species, which vary greatly in size and form, are native to every continent except Antarctica. Charles Darwin performed much of the early research into Drosera, engaging in a long series of experiments with Drosera rotundifolia which were the first to confirm carnivory in plants.


COBRA LILY

Darlingtonia californica, also called the California pitcher plant, cobra lily, or cobra plant, is a species of carnivorous plant. It is the sole member of the genus Darlingtonia in the family Sarraceniaceae. This pitcher plant is native to Northern California and Oregon, US, growing in bogs and seeps with cold running water. This plant is designated as uncommon due to its rarity in the field. The name “cobra lily” stems from the resemblance of its tubular leaves to a rearing cobra, complete with a forked leaf – ranging from yellow to purplish-green – that resemble fangs or a serpent’s tongue.


TROPICAL PITCHER PLANT

Nepenthes is a genus of carnivorous plants, also known as tropical pitcher plants, or monkey cups, in the monotypic family Nepenthaceae. The greatest diversity occurs on Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines, with many endemic species. Many are plants of hot, humid, lowland areas, but the majority are tropical montane plants, receiving warm days but cool to cold, humid nights year round. A few are considered tropical alpine, with cool days and nights near freezing. The name “monkey cups” refers to the fact that monkeys were once thought to drink rainwater from the pitchers. This is false; monkeys do not drink from them, and the pitchers are filled with digestive juices, rather than rainwater.


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