My Savage Garden (Carnivorous Plants)

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It is also called cobra plant, because its bulbous heads, twisted tongues, and long, tubular pitchers, like a cobra.


How to catch and eat insects: Most of its insect prey are lured to the plant by its colorful, nectar-baited tongue. Crawling insects follow nectar trails that run up the exterior of the pitcher. The nectar is the heaviest at the base of the tongue. At this point, insects may be lured to enter a hole by the brilliance of the sun shining through the transparent hood. But once inside the hood, escape is impossible. An inner collar surrounding the entrance of the hole is similar to a lobster trap, making an exit almost impossible to find. The insects finally tumble down the tube. Water is secreted by the pitcher that drowns the victims. Bacteria and other microorganisms help break down the soft parts of the prey. This nutritional fluid is then reabsorbed by the plant (adapted from The Savage Garden by Peter).


The left picture shows my three-year-old Darlingtonia (taken in Dec.2009). The right one shows a new pitcher (taken in April.2010).








How to catch and eat insects: The whole plant is covered with nectar glands that supply food for insects. The nectar is copiously produced by pitchers, particularly around the lip and under the lid. Insects are led by nectar and color patterns to the underside of the lid and the slippery lip. For many insects, the nectar has an intoxicating effect. After feeding for a while, some insects can appear to be in a drunken stupor, walking or spinning in circles. Many of these lose their foothold, falling from the lid or lip into the trap formed by the pitchers. The upper interior of the trap has waxy zone, where insects find it impossible to climb. The bottom interior is digestive zone, covered with hundreds to thousands of glands. These glands secret the juices that rapidly dissolve the soft parts of the prey. Then the glands reabsorb nutrients from this soup (adapted from The Savage Garden by Peter).


Plant Name: Nepenthes. ampullaria red x sibuyanensis

Pictures were taken in April 2010.




Plant Name: N. ampullaria (red) x N. talangensis


Plant Name: Nepenthes. aristolochioides

Its pitchers are famous for the 'beehive' shape with the opening situated near the top. Picture taken in April 2010.

N. aristolochioides_03102010 (4)  



Plant Name: Nepenthes. glabrata

One of the daintiest and prettiest of the nepenthes. The pitchers are smooth and tubby, barely one or two inches tall. The peristome is yellow, with a small oval mouth and lid. The pitcher background is lemon green, delicately marked with some red streaks as though hand painted. The first picture shows a mature pitcher. The first picture was taken in April 2010, the second picture was taken in November 2010.




Plant Name: Nepenthes. jacquelineae

Picture was taken in November 2010.



Plant Name: Nepenthes. jamban

This is a very rare plant. It was discovered in the island of Sumatra in Indonesian in 2005. The pitchers have a unique toilet shape, so the plant was affectionately called jamban, which means toilet in Indonesian. Pictures were taken in November 2010.




Plant Name: Nepenthes. mikei

It develops dark reddish leaves, with dark purple (almost black) pitchers, which are 4 to 6 inches tall. Pictures were taken in March-April 2010.

N.Mikei 03_06_2010   



Plant Name: Nepenthes. talangensis

It produces funnel shaped pitchers heavily speckled red with an extremely wide and lemon-yellow peristome. This species likes higher humidity than other species. Generally, 70%-80% at daytime; 85-95% at nighttime. The last two pictures taken in March 2010.

N.talangensis 03_08_2010 opened pitcher (4)N.talangensis 03_08_2010 opened pitcher (1)



Plant Name: Nepenthes. ventricosa

Its lovely pitchers are tubby and rounded, with a constrained waist and no wings. The mouth is wide and oval, with a beautiful scalloped-pink peristome, thick, tightly ridged, and sharp-toothed. The first picture was taken in March 2010, and the second picture was taken in October 2010.




Plant Name: Nepenthes. vogelii

Pictures were taken in November 2010.




Plant Name: Nepenthes. x trusmadiensis

Pictures were taken in November 2010.





Cephalotus. follicularis

Pictures were taken in October 2010.






Plant Name: H. minor

Pictures were taken in October 2010. The third pic shows the nectar spoon of a pitcher, which is used to attract insects.





Drosera (Sundew)


Their leaves are generally flat, covered with hundreds of stalked glands, or tentacles. The tentacles are hairlike filaments, at the end of which sits a small, usually reddish, gland. Most of these glands produce a tiny drop of dew, which is extremely sticky.


How to catch and eat insects: A small flying insect may catch sight of the glistening droplets and mistake them for a flower’s sweet nectar. It alights upon the leaf and immediately panics. The nectar is glue, and the insect struggles to free itself. Instead, its legs and wings come into contact with more of the sticky drops, and the more it thrashes the further mired it becomes. Within moments, some of the plant’s tentacles begin to move, carrying the victim toward the center of the leaf where dozens more glands await it. Once an insect is caught, the glands begin to secrete a complex juice of enzymes and acids that rapidly cover the insect’s body. In a matter of hours or days, the digestive juices liquefy the softer parts of the insect. The glands then begin to reabsorb this nutritious, mineral-laden soup.


Plant Name: D. capensis (all red)

Entirely reddish maroon in color, with deep pink flowers. It takes about 24 hours to completely curl around its prey. Picture taken in April 2010.



Plant Name: D. madagascariensis

As this species matures, it forms a tall stem, with a skirt of dried leaves. It occasionally reaches a height of 10 inches. Frequently, as it grows, it topples over and grows as a scrambling stem. The picture taken in March 2010.


Plant Name: D. roseana

This species is the most favorite one among many carnivorous plant growers. It is a pygmy in the sundew family, since it gets only up to half inch in diameter. Its diminutive stature and glistening red leaves has cute written all over it. Pictures were taken in March 2010. The right one shows an insect was caught by the plant.



Plant Name: D. scorpioides

As its name indicates, it is like a tail of scorpion. It can quickly curl its prey in one minute.


See the following pictures (taken in Feb.2010) to see how its tentacles curl a prey. 1st pic: before catching a prey; 2nd pic: catched a prey at 50min 04sec; 3rd pic: at 50min 10sec; 4th: at 50min 18sec; 5th: at 50min 30sec; 6th: at 51min 21sec




Plant Name: D. venusta

Pictures were taken in September 2010.




Dionaea (flytrap)


How to catch and eat insects: The general mechanism is as follows: The trap consists of two lobes like a clam shell. The outer margins are lined with teeth. When the trap is open, the two lobes are actually concave or dished inward. Each lobe has three or four tiny trigger hairs set near the center. A sweet nectar is produced by glands along the inner base of the teeth that rim the trap. Insects are lured by this nectar to enter the trap. As the insect moves about, drinking the nectar, it needs to touch or bend two of the tiny trigger hairs or one hair twice within twenty seconds to spring the trap. Then a mild electrical current runs through the trap, and finally causing the trap close quickly, typically in one second, imprisoning the insect in a cage. In a few hours, glands on the inner surface of the lobes begin to secret digestive juices. Shortly the insect drowns in this fluid. It takes a flytrap from four to ten days to digest its prey.


Plant Name: Dionaea (royal red)

The first picture is the whole plant, taken on March 12, 2010. The second is a close-up of its trap. Do you see the trigger hairs at the center of each lobe? The last picture was taken in October, 2009, when it caught a mosquito.





How to catch and eat insects: Insects are lured to the leaves by a combination of nectar and color. It is generally assumed that a drug in the nectar strongly assists in the trapping of prey, which causes paralysis and eventually death to those insects drinking enough of it. Also, insects can fall into the tubular leaves from which they cannot escape.  Near the bottom of inside of the tubular leaves, digestive acids and enzymes are produced and the insects are finally digested.


Plant Name: S. flava var. cuprea


Plant Name: S. flava var. rubricorpora


Plant Name: S. Judith Hindle

Pictures taken in March 2010. The right picture shows the nectar secreted by the plant to lure insects.



Plant Name: S. leucophylla (Hurricane Creek White)



Plant Name: S. Psittacina

Prey caught by this plant suffers a hideous death. Once inside the hood via the hole (see the right picture), the exit is difficult to find due to the puckered collar. Insects thus enter the brighter tube lighted by the windows (see the grid texture on the hood in both pictures). However, there is no retreat, for to back out means to be painfully pierced by the numerous needle-like hairs. The victim has no choice but to proceed into the digestive acids in the lower part of the pitcher.



Plant Name: S. x Catesbaei






Their carnivorous activity occurs beneath the soil surface.  Little bladder-like structures along the plant's roots capture teeny-tiny soil critters, such as nematodes.  While this might not be terribly exciting for most first-time growers, many growers have come to appreciate bladderworts for their beautiful flowers.


Plant Name: U. bisquamata

Dont you think it is like a ghost?