Killer Plants

Yesterday’s beautiful poem and the accompanying image invited some lively reflection on the peculiar talents of carnivorous plants.

Insects and arthropods—maybe even humans—beware! These plants have odd appetites. And you have to admire their sneaky methods of attracting killing and digesting their hapless prey. Who can name all five?

Here’s a snap inventory:

  • pitfall traps (drowning):  carnivorous pitcher plants
  • snap traps (rapid movement):  Venus flytraps
  • flypaper traps (sticky mucilage): sundews and butterworts
  • bladder traps (internal vacuum) bladderworts
  • lobster-pot traps (hairs that direct prey to the digestive organ) corkscrew

Oh, the horror of it all! Scary footage. Poor little critters. Note the holes in those leaves. Did the captives eat their way out? Chilling.

And just in case you think humans are off the hook, there are plenty of tales of people becoming plant consumables, and not just after they’re dead and planted. Roger Corman’s hilarious 1960’s black comedy, The Little Shop of Horrors, for example, spawned a broadway musical and a 1986 version of the film in which Audrey II, Seymour Krelborn’s voracious houseplant, eats the sadistic, leather-clad dentist … among other things. Festive and funny stuff.

The lesson here?

If you don’t eat your veggies, they might just eat you.

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice

photo by Lowry McFerrin, courtesy of Lowry McFerrin

  • Leslie Lee

    It’s enough to make me turn into a vegetarian!

  • Judy

    And I thought The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was scary! Think I’ll leave the gardening to braver souls.

  • Kunal Mukherjee

    I guess i am a carnivore who eats potential carnivores since I am largely vegetarian.

  • Excited to meet Erin – Looking forward to getting to know her. Her plants? Not so much.