Home BiologyThe Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
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The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
Another carnivorous plant is the yellow pitcher. Shutterstock.

The Yellow Pitcher Drowns Its Prey

The “mouth” of a yellow pitcher is different from the lobes of the famous (or infamous) Venus flytrap and its underwater cousin, the waterwheel. And unlike butterworts and roundleaf sundews, the yellow pitcher doesn’t trap its prey with sticky secretions.

Instead, this carnivorous plant has a long “pitcher” for a mouth, and unfortunate bugs and small creatures fall into it. To attract them, the yellow pitcher produces a sweet nectar-like substance; once they fall in, trying to get the nectar, the yellow pitcher digests its meal.

The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
This meat-eating plant uses its fragrance to lure its food. Shutterstock.

The Dewy Pine Entices Its Prey With Its Aroma

Dewy pines live in the dry, desert regions of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Where it lives, the soil is generally too poor to provide for all of the plants’ needs, so it makes up for that nutrient deficit by eating bugs. It has many spiny leaves, which look a little bit like arms.

Those leaves are covered with a sticky substance. The dewy pine releases an aromatic scent to attract insects, and the insects then get stuck on the leaves. The plant then digests the insects to absorb their nutrients.

The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
The bladderwort uses a bladder trap, but not like you think. Shutterstock.

Bladderworts Trap Organisms In Their Bladders

In case you were wondering, no, these aren’t the kinds of bladders that you empty when you go to the bathroom. A bladder can refer to any sac that releases water, not just the organ that stores urine. Bladderworts are water-based plants that have bladders that serve as mouths to help them eat their prey.

These aquatic plants may eat fleas, insects and insect larvae, marine worms, and other small creatures that venture too close. Though there are hundreds of different kinds of bladderworts, they generally live in the northern hemisphere. 

The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
This carnivorous plant sounds like something from a nightmare. Shutterstock.

Cobra Lilies Look (And Act) Like Snakes

If you have ever seen a picture of a snake charmer trying to lure a cobra, you may be familiar with the image of a snake hood that can flare up whenever the cobra feels threatened or is going to attack. Cobra lilies have a similar hood – and they look like cobras!

And given that they eat meat, they act a bit like cobras, too. Cobra lilies secrete a sweet nectar-like substance to attract their prey, which then gets trapped inside. However, just to confuse the prey, the plant is translucent, so the bug can see outside, like looking through a window, but can’t get out! Downward-pointing hairs inside the plant prevent the prey from being able to escape.

The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
It is a rather sophisticated way to catch its prey. Shutterstock.

Brocchinia Reducta Uses Bacteria To Digest Insects

Brocchinia reducta lives mostly in South America, particularly in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Guyana. Its whorl-type leaves somewhat resemble the top part of a pineapple (or the bottom part, if you consider the way that pineapples grow).

The leaves are filled with water, and they attract insects. Unlike other carnivorous plants, brocchinia reducta does not produce digestive enzymes. Instead, it relies on symbiotic processes with bacteria. Symbiotic processes are those in which two animals (or in this case, a plant and bacteria) depend on each other.

The Venus Flytrap Isn’t the Only Carnivorous Plant
Can you imagine seeing a plant eating a rat? *shudders at the thought* Shutterstock.

Some Pitcher Plants (aka Monkey Cups) Eat Rats

Most carnivorous plants feed on tiny prey, sometimes as small as fleas, not usually more substantial than little spiders. Nevertheless, pitcher plants (the family includes the yellow pitcher) get to be considerably larger and have broader dietary needs. Moreover, to meet those nutritional needs, they eat bigger prey.

Monkey cups are a type of pitcher plant, and they live in parts of Asia through Australia, along with the African island of Madagascar. Larger monkey cups consume vertebrate animals, including rats. They might also consume other small amphibians and reptiles that fall into their pitchers.

Sources:

“Plant.” Wikipedia.

“10 of the most fascinating carnivorous plants.” MSN News. May 28, 2019.

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