The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: How many carnivorous plant species are there?

A: Below I have listed the numbers of species in each genus. You will have to add them up yourself, because it's too much of a pain for me to do this everytime I add a new species to the FAQ.

There is not universal agreement on how to group the groups of carnivorous plants into higher taxonomic entities, but along with thoughtful analysis by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG), and a string of publications from this groups, we are getting a workable system. Below you can see the system that is being settled upon. This arrangement is partially based upon genetic characters, is still being refined.

This is not just an exercise in hypothesizing... Each distinct clade of carnivorous plants indicates a separate, distinct time that the syndrome of carnivory developed by evolutionary pressures. Below you can see the orders (first column, red text), families (second column, blue text), and genera with species information (third column, green text) for all the carnivorous plant genera. In this arrangement, I identify the clades as enumerated on the previous FAQ page.

Note that in some of the genera, such as Brocchinia, Catopsis, Passiflora, and Stylidium, not all the species in the genus are considered potentially carnivorous. Oh, and by "potentially carnivorous", I intend to convey the notion that the science is not completely compelling in some of these cases.

I admit to a certain arbitrariness in these tables. Some plants which are probably not truly carnivorous (such as Capsella bursa-pastoris) have been excluded from the following tables, while others (such as Ibicella and Passiflora have been included). This table is to be read and interpreted by you.

Monocot Clade

Superrosids Clade

Superasterids Clade

Page citations: APG 2016; Barthlott, W. et al. 2007; Juniper et al. 1989; Rice, B.A. 2006a; personal observations.

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Revised: 2021
©Barry Rice, 2021