The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: What is the biggest, most amazing carnivorous plant?

...not Byblis!

...maybe Genlisea?
A: It depends upon your definition. In terms of sheer bulk, the largest carnivorous plants are in the genera Nepenthes and Triphyophyllum---these large vines can grow up to tens of meters long. Plants in this genus also have traps that have evolved to capture some of the largest prey, including creatures as large as frogs. Very rarely, captures of birds or rodents have been reported, but these cases probably involved sick animals and certainly do not represent the norm.

In terms of gruesome factor, the most amazing carnivorous plant is probably the familiar Venus flytrap, which has leaf lobes that quickly capture prey in a terrifying way most dramatic. Meanwhile, the fastest-acting trap belongs to the underwater plants in the genus Utricularia, which suck prey into bladders in times as short as 1/30 of a second. The most complex trap may belong to the related genus, Genlisea. I cannot even begin to explain this wonder to you without drawings. You can see parts of this plant's strange little traps snaking out from under its leaves in the photograph to the right.

Page citations: Brodie J., and Lee, C. 2000; Clarke, C. 1997, 2001; Lloyd, F.E. 1942; McPherson, S. 2008; Rice, B.A. 2006a.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018