International Carnivorous Plant Society

About Carnivorous Plants

Carnivory

What are Carnivorous Plants?

Carnivorous plants are just plants with a special set of characters that allow them to use animals for food. There is nothing they do that some other plant or plants cannot do. It is the package of traits that define what is carnivorous and what is not.

Murderous Plants

Many plants kill animals in a body present way.  That does not mean they are carnivorous. Or semi-carnivorous.  Or proto-carnivorous. Or whaterver-carnivorous. They are just murderous.

Trapping Mechanisms

Carnivorous plant can have simple traps or elaborate traps.  Whatever works, works for them.

Digestion & Absorption

Benefiting from trapped prey is the hallmark of true carnivory.  How do we know when a plant benefits?

Costs of Carnivory

There are costs to carnivory that plants must pay.  These costs can be high and not all carnivores are all carnivorous all the time.

 
 
 

Relationships and Evolution

Evolution of the Caryophyllales Carnivores

Drosera, Dionaea, Aldrovanda, Nepenthes, Drosophyllum, and Triphyophyllum are all closely related.

Nepenthes Phylogeny

The closest relatives of Nepenthes are sticky-leaved carnivores and plants that evolved to become non-carnivores.

Drosera Phylogeny

The Drosera phylogeny goes so far back in the dim past that we cannot tell how they diverged from their closest relatives.

Drosera Chromosomes

Drosera has a type of chromosome that is very uncommon in nature. That plus the usual suspects of chromosomal dynamics helped create this very diverse genus.

Drosera Hybrids

Drosera hybrids happen in the wild and contribute to the evolution of new species.

Self-incompatibilty

Many Drosera species kill their own pollen if it lands on their stigma. This is actually quite common among flowering plants.

Evolution of the Lamiales Carnivores

In the Lamiales there is a progression of trap types from sticky traps to the most complicated of carnivore traps.

Utricularia Phylogeny

The Utricularia phylogeny shows the itinerary a world traveller.

Evolution of the Ericales Carnivores

The next time you eat a kiwi fruit, you will be eating the fruit of a close relative of the Ericales carnivores.

Evolution of the Oxalidales Carnivore

Cephalotus is the only species in its family. It's closest relative is Oxalis.

 

Taxonomy

Carnivorous Plant Names Database is located at cpnames.carnivorousplants.org

Compendium of all publish carnivorous plant names with notes on the validity of the names.

Visit CP Names Database

Drosera indica Complex

There are at least 11 species in the Drosera indica complex. Who knew?

Drosera peltata Complex

Why is it that our view of the Drosera peltata species complex keeps changing and may continue to change?

Drosera spatulata Species Complex

This complex is in desperate need of an in-depth study.

 

Carnivorous Plant Cultivars

The ICPS is the International Cultivar Registration Authority for carnivorous plants.
A list of all registered CP cultivars is located at cpnames.carnivorousplants.org/Cultivars.php
A list of all cultivars published in CPN and their descriptions is located at cpn.carnivorousplants.org/CultivarDescriptions.php.

Cultivar Registration Forms

 

Historic Documents

An archive for the International Pinguicula Study Group newsletter, old plant catalogs, and links to other sites with historic documents.

For Teachers

The Weird, Wild, Wacky and Wonderful World of Carnivorous Plants

"The Weird, Wild, Wacky and Wonderful World of Carnivorous Plants" was an enrichment course for seven through nine year old students which was developed and utilized by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.