Types of Flowers
We expect our flowers to do little more than sit pretty in the soil, and for the most part, they oblige us.
Then there are the flowers that break the traditional mold, adding an element of fancy to their beauty.
In their effort to stake a claim in nutrient deficient areas, carnivorous plants succeeded in blending their meat eating habit with their flair for fashion. And, since the days when Darwin called them the "most wonderful plants", interest in carnivorous plants has continued unabated.
Their appeal spreads throughout much of the world. According to the Botanical Society of American, over six hundred species in nine different families have been documented, with new species continuing to be documented.
The United States hosts a variety of carnivorous plants, falling within three different families:
- Droseraceae: The sundew family consists of two genera. About a dozen native sundew species (genus Drosera) have been identified. Look for them during the summer in sunny wetlands with acidic soils, their habitat of choice. The famous Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), the country's only snap trap plant, grows in the Southeast.
- Lentibulariaceae: With a global distribution of over three hundred and twenty species, the bladderworts rank as the world's largest carnivorous plant family. Two of the three genera, the butterworts (Pinguicula) and bladderworts (Utricularia) are common in the United States.
- Sarraceniaceae: Two of the three genera of new world pitcher plants, Darlingtonia and Sarracenia grow in the United States. The top picture shows the flower of the Cobra Lily or California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia californica) the sole West Coast species. The bottom picture shows the plant's cobra looking leaves. Approximately two dozen different Sarracenia species and hybrids, also called pitcher plants and trumpets grow mostly in the Southeast.
With over thirty different species, covering all three families, the Southeast holds the title of carnivorous capital of the United States.
Gardeners with a green thumb for bog plants easily grow most, if not all, of the species on windowsills and in backyard gardens.
© 2010 Patricia A. Michaels