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from The IUCN Red List

Think you know carnivorous plants? Think again!

Updates Home | 11.16.2015

Take a closer look at carnivorous plants in action in this beautiful video and learn 12 fascinating facts about these amazing botanical predators and their many uses.

1. You don’t have to hop on a plane to see carnivorous plants in the wild. They are found almost all over the world, from New England to Borneo to South Africa.  

2. Insects aren’t all that’s on the menu. Nepenthes pitcher plants can grow pitfall traps up to a foot deep, digesting prey as large as frogs and rats.


3. Venus Flytraps are terrifyingly fast and horrifying slow. They snap shut in the blink of an eye, but take a week to digest their prey.


4. Eating bugs is clearly advantageous  ̶  pitcher plants have evolved separately in three places: the Americas, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

5. Nepenthes pitcher plants harness the power of raindrops to dislodge and trap ants hanging out under their lids.


6. The first species ever discovered on social media was a carnivorous plant. Drosera magnifica, one of the largest sundews in the Americas, was discovered when a botanist saw a photo of one in a friend’s Facebook album.

7. Pitcher plants sure do have a convenient shape. Communities in Malaysian Borneo cook traditional rice snacks inside Nepenthes pitchers.

8. Carnivorous plants can treat asthma. Although concerns over sustainability have limited their use in modern medicine, sundews have a long history of use for treating coughs and other lung ailments.

9. The semi-aquatic carnivores known as corkscrew plants have some of the smallest genomes of all flowering plants.

10. Like making your own yogurt? Pinguicula (butterworts) are a traditional curdling agent.


11. Scottish Highlanders famously used animal and human urine in their dye-making, and they also harvested Drosera plants to make the color purple.


12. Not all famous biologists were fans of carnivorous plants. Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist who invented our system for naming species, rejected the existence of carnivorous plants, claiming such creatures would go "against the order of nature as willed by God"!

More fascinating facts:

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