Monday, June 26, 2017

Meat-Eater Monday

No. I'm not discussing steaks -- or cannibalism for that matter.

This blog may have seemed normal, and it will continue to be -- except on Mondays, at least for this summer. Mondays will be devoted to the discussion of carnivorous plants -- meat eaters (or more precisely, insect eaters.)

I really don't remember why I became fascinated with carnivorous plants. Or what made me want one.

All I know is once I got a Venus flytrap and a purple pitcher plant my fate was sealed. I was captured as surely as the flies in my plants.

However, it took me about a year to learn how to grow these strange plants properly.  I started off without having a clue as to how to grow my meat eating plants, but thanks to the Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato and Sarracenia Northwest, I've successfully been growing carnivorous plants for nearly a decade and now have 40+ in my backyard. 

For today's post, I'm going to give an introduction to the world of carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants are simply plants with very specialized, modified leaves which attract, trap, and digest bugs.  There are thousands of species, but I will only be discussing the 3 "cold hardy" (able to survive winters) species which I have experience with.

1.) The North American Pitcher Plant

This is my favorite type of carnivorous plant. Their leaves trap bugs by luring them to the lip of a tube and the foolish bugs, greedy for nectar tumble in. They are unable to get out because of the slick sides of the pitcher. These pitcher plants come in many colors and sizes. They range from 6 inches to 4ft tall and can be any color green to pink. Although there are only 8 species, they can be crossed again and again to produce stunning hybrids exemplifying the best characteristics of all parents.

2.) The Venus Fly Trap

The Venus flytraps are the most famous of carnivorous plants and the most interesting to watch. It traps its prey by 3 trigger hairs on each side of its leaf. When an insect brushes up against them several times, the trap snaps shut in a split second!

3.) Sundews

If you were looking for a plant that murders insects, it would NOT be this one. It's leaves with tiny tentacles tipped with a glistening droplet glue, which is easily mistaken for dew. These innocent little plants look life nothing more than blades of grass covered in dew and glittering in the sunlight. However, if you look closely, the black exoskeletons of its gnat victims mark out a graveyard on its leaves.

I hope you've enjoyed this little intro. All pictures are of my own plants.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, these shots are amazing! Nice work, Elizabeth. :-)
    I will be looking forward to your next installment of Meat-Eater Mondays!