Bugs Beware; Plant Lovers Rejoice

August 15, 2014

by Bob Gibbs

Move over Venus Flytrap.  More than 600 species of carnivorous plants can be found worldwide.  The New England Carnivorous Plant Society showcased many varieties at its 2014 carnivorous plant exhibition pre-show at the Lake Street Garden Center in Salem.

The show featured plants from around the world.  A carnivorous plant is a plant that lures, captures, and digests insect prey.  Of the hundreds of carnivorous species found, several are native to New England.  Carnivorous plants typically grow in nutrient-poor soils, as capturing insects is an adaptation to these environments.

The Venus Flytrap is the most famous carnivorous plant with oversized flytraps showing up in Hollywood features.  The Venus flytrap, like many other carnivorous plants, has small hair-like structures that sense when an insect is in the trap.  The plant will quickly close around the insect, trapping the prey.

Other carnivorous plants at the Salem show include the Heliamphora heterodoxa x ionasii, which is native to South America and the Darlingtonia California (California Pitcher Plant) from the west coast of the U.S.  The Pitcher Plant is native to Northern California and Oregon, growing in bogs and seeps with cold running water.  This plant is designated as uncommon due to its rarity in the field.

The NECPS will hold its annual carnivorous plants show October 4-5 at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, R.I..

The New England Carnivorous Plant Society holds meetings on the second Saturday of every month at the Roger Williams Botanical Center.  New members are always welcome.  For more information, you can check their website:  www.necps.org.