Botanical Oddities
2:59 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

The Curious World of Carnivorous Plants

The class of carnivorous plants known as "sundews" are amogn the most colorful and exotic, named for the glistening dewlike drops which capture and digest insects.

  Horror movies and popular musicals notwithstanding, carnivorous plants do not eat people, nor do they grow to tower over us. Without that far-fetched scare factor, they are strangely beautiful…and decidedly weird.

  Peter D’Amato was just a boy when he first sent for a mail-order Venus Flytrap. It didn’t last long, but his interest in these strange plants did, especially after he was introduced to some that were growing in the wild not far from his home.

D’Amato’s California Carnivores nursery propagates and breeds many of the plants they display and sell, such as sundews and pitcher plants. They need to be kept wet, he explains, but they don’t need to be fed. Aside from the loss of habitat that threatens them, carnivorous plants are naturally long-lived.

Many of D'Amato's specimens are currently on display in San Francisco, at the exhibit called Chomp 2 at the Conservatory of Flowers. It continues though mid-October.