Carnivorous Flesh-eating Plants
Plants Adapted to Attract and Capture and Digest Primarily Insects but also Other Small Animals

Carnivorous Flesh-eating Plants
Plants Adapted to Attract and Capture and Digest Primarily Insects but also Other Small Animals

The Venus Flytrap is one of the most popular carnivorous plants that catches and digests animal prey—mostly insects and arachnids.

Its trapping structure is formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces.

When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike.

The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against a waste of energy in trapping objects with no nutritional value.

On the Island of Palawan in the Philippines, the naturalist and explorer Stewart Mcpherson sets out to discover new species of flesh eating plants on the previously unexplored Mountain with No Name.

Stewart famously discovered and photographed a species of flesh eating plant tucking into a mouse. He has so far discovered at least 5 new species of carnivorous plants, and herein this film he finds yet more.

Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients (but not energy) from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods.

Carnivorous plants appear adapted to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings.

Charles Darwin wrote Insectivorous Plants, the first well-known treatise on carnivorous plants, in 1875.

True carnivory is thought to have evolved independently six times in five different orders of flowering plants, and these are now represented by more than a dozen genera.

These include about 630 species that attract and trap prey, produce digestive enzymes, and absorb the resulting available nutrients.

Additionally, over 300 protocarnivorous plant species in several genera show some but not all these characteristics.

Pitcher plants have a prey-trapping mechanism which features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap.

A pitcher plant in Somerset, England, trapped and devoured a bird known as the blue tit.

Although such an event is rare, it is believed that this has occurred before in the world.

Five basic trapping mechanisms are found in carnivorous plants.
  1. Pitfall traps (pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.
  2. Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage.
  3. Snap traps utilize rapid leaf movements.
  4. Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum.
  5. Lobster-pot traps force prey to move towards a digestive organ with inward-pointing hairs.
Carnivorous plants have long been the subject of popular interest and exposition, much of it highly inaccurate. Fictional plants have been featured in a number of books, movies, television series, and video games.

Typically, these fictional depictions include exaggerated characteristics, such as enormous size or possession of abilities beyond the realm of reality, and can be viewed as a kind of artistic license.

The most famous examples of fictional carnivorous plants in popular culture include the 1960s black comedy The Little Shop of Horrors, the triffids of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, and others. Other movies, such as The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971), and television series utilize accurate depictions of carnivorous plants for cinematic purposes.

The earliest known depiction of carnivorous plants in popular culture was a case where a large man-eating tree was reported to have consumed a young woman in Madagascar in 1878, as witnessed by Dr. Carl Liche. Liche reported the events in the South Australian Register in 1881. The account has been debunked as pure myth as it appears Dr. Liche, the Mkodos, and the tree were all fabrications.