Numbering around 800 species, carnivorous plants are only a small fraction of the world’s plants. But they have fascinated people for centuries.
While they may seem exotic, a wide variety of native carnivorous plants species is at home right here in the United States. This includes sundews, butterworts, pitcher plants, and Venus fly traps.
Most plants absorb nutrients through their roots, but carnivorous plants often grow in soils that are high in sand and peat moss and provide limited nutrients. To get the nutrients they need, these plants have adapted by trapping and digesting insects.
Carnivorous plants use highly modified leaf structures to catch their prey. Special glands in these traps allow the plants to liquify their prey and absorb the nutrient-rich remains.
There is no need to feed our carnivorous plants. They photosynthesize to get their energy and, even here in the Conservatory, can trap their own prey for nutrients.