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Carnivorous Plants

If you want to add a unique touch to your garden, carnivorous plants are bound to get attention. From the common Venus Flytrap to the Cobra plant, these exotics serve several purposes.

Plants - Venus Flytrap

In areas that have high populations of bugs, it lowers the amount of flies or other insects that bother you. While the benefit is strictly related to the size and type of carnivorous plants that you own, these plants can provide a small level of relief while providing entertainment to adults and children alike.

There are five different types of carnivorous plants. The most common type, the same family that the Venus Flytrap contains, is the snap trap family. Snap traps rely on a mouth that close in around its pray, where the plant will eat whatever it catches.

Next are pitfall traps. These traps rely on prey falling into the plant and being unable to escape. These plants undergo constant evolution, as water can pool in the pitchers of the plant in addition to the bugs that the plant eats. These plants range from colorful to bland, and do not have moving parts like their snap trap counterparts.

Flypaper traps are among some of the coolest carnivorous plants. These plants secrete a glue which traps and breaks down insects for nourishment. These carnivorous plants should be treated with caution in the home, as the secretions can cause agitation to the skin.

Bladder traps are a fascinating subset of carnivorous plants. These plants function through the osmosis of water to create a suction within the body of the plant. Once an insect or aquatic species has been trapped within, escape is difficult. Unlike many carnivorous plants, these are more commonly found underwater than above ground. Some species of bladder traps, such as the Bladderwort, lack roots, which make them a creative addition to any collection.

Plant - Carnivorous Cobra Plant

Finally, the lobster pot traps are among some of the most unusual looking carnivorous plants that you can acquire. These plants function by giving insects an easy way to enter, but little chance of escape. In the case of the corkscrew plant, the insides of the plant have downward pointing obstructions and a y-shaped leaf structure that prevents the escape of its prey. The unusual shapes of lobster pot traps are directly related to their evolution to prevent the escape of insects.

For those interested in borderline species, there are several varieties of plants that do not meet all of the requirements of carnivorous plants, but have sharing characteristics. These plants include the Brocchinia Roridula and members of the Martyniaceae species. These plants lack one of the three required aspects, which is to attract, kill and digest prey, to be classified as a true carnivorous plant.

Carnivorous plants should be placed where young children and babies cannot reach them. While most of them are relatively harmless to humans, digestion of these plants should be avoided, due to the digestive enzymes that the plant utilizes to break down prey.