Book 2: coming in 2012

Meat-eating plants

The world is full of amazing carnivorous plants.

The Venus flytrap has toothy mouths that snap shut on its prey ...

A Sarracenia plant lures insects to sweet, gooey nectar around the rim of a tube - a deadly pitfall trap. The insects lap up the nectar, but if they put one foot wrong they plummet into the tube and can't escape ...

Cobra lilies have pitfall traps like Sarracenia, but with added twists, turns, and light-shows to confuse their prey. (And guess how they got their name!)

Sundews come in many shapes and sizes. They're covered in hairs that ooze out mucusy goo. Insects that dare land get trapped in this goo, which also contains chemicals that digest bug flesh.

There are loads of other carnivorous plants: butterworts, bladderworts, Nepenthes, and more. 

Although carnivorous plants grow in all kinds of places around the planet, many species are now struggling to survive in the wild - as their natural habitats are changed or destroyed.

New Zealand carnivorous plants

New Zealand has its own native carnivorous plants. You can find out more about them on Forest and Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club site.

Grow your own carnivorous plants

If you'd like your own carnivorous plant, mid-spring to summer is a great time to buy. Enquire in your local plant shop whether they have any, and if they don't, when they might be getting some in. (Carnivorous plant sales are seasonal, and often they begin to appear in the shops round November.)

You can also buy them on TradeMe sometimes.

Meanwhile, explore carnivorous plants at the website of scientist Barry Rice
and the New Zealand Carnivorous Plant Society

Photos of Venus flytrap and Sarracenia copyright Andrew Broome.
Photo of sundew copyright Simon Eyre.
Photo of cobra lily copyright Gavin McEwen.