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Carnivorous plants are dining on bugs around the world

Roger Boddaert

Special to the Village News

Carnivorous plants are found from the exotic rainforest to the snowy bogs in the northern hemisphere and even in Northern California.

This unique and specialized class of plants has over 700 kinds that attract bugs of all types and lure them with their sticky tentacles and pitcher-like containers, to devore them through digestive plant juices.

The following are some types for starters as you enter the world of bizarre carnivorous plants and beware says Audrey from “The little shop of Horrors” movie who says, “Feed me Seymour.”

Venus’s flytrap: These little plants have been around for a millennium and are native to the bogs of North Carolina. Its unique leaves will attract flies and other small insects through their aroma and will snap shut in a second as the insect lands on the leaf that triggers its closure.

Nepenthes: It grows with upright leaves and on the tips of the foliage it produces a pitcher-like vase filled with sweet digestive nectar. The bugs come for a sip and then fall into a slip in the pitcher and drown. They are called monkey cups in Asia where thirsty monkeys come and drink from the cups.

Darlingtonia californica-Cobra plant: Yes, in the humid, moist wetlands of Northern California in open bogs. These plants will grow, and their architecture is truly a unique shape in the plant world.

Sundews: These fuzzy and colorful stems erupt from an underground bulb. And when the bugs land on the sticky leaf, the digestive enzymes extract the protein they require. They make wonderful house plants and can be located near a bright window to enjoy the filtered sunshine.

Sarracenia: It is called the Trumpet pitcher for its shape and is native to the southeastern coast wetlands, and bogs. The flower stems are fragrant and look like a Salvatore modern sculpture. Sarracenia purpurea has purple leaf stems and stands out amongst other carnivores for its brilliant colors.

One summer in Sweden, I was out collecting the rare cloudberry in a spongy peat bog. Amongst these seasonal berries were thousands of carnivorous Sundew plants to my amazement and I was thrilled to be in this unique plant habitat and watching the wetlands in harmony.

Currently the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas is having a gigantic carnivorous plant exhibit called Savage Gardens inside the conservatory till the end of October. Plant vendors on the weekends are selling a vast array of these unique and hard to find plants.

All these interesting carnivorous plants can open new horizons for youngsters and expand their interest and connection to the planet’s flora and fauna, and that just might evolve into a new generation of earth stewards.

Get connected with the Save Our Forest group in Fallbrook, and you will be a part of the very successful tree-planting movement in our little town. May the forests be with you and yours.

Roger Boddaert, The Tree Man of Fallbrook, is a consulting arborist who can be reached at 760-728-4297.


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