The Appalachian Naturalist
Please visit Meadowview Biological Research Station's Web site! They are involved in the restoration of Pitcher Plants in historic localities throughout the Southeast, and are an excellent source for healthy plants.
Carnivorous plants are found all over the world in myriad forms, but I find the ones here in North Carolina are especially interesting to me due to their scarcity and delicate beauty. There are several kinds of a few different families, only a few of which are found in the western part of the state. Most folks do not realize that there are carnivorous plants here; many believe that they are confined to wild regions like Africa, South America or Australia, but indeed, several are found here. They are:
The Pitcher plants. These have tubular shaped leaves which act as pitfall traps, allowing the insects to fall down into the hollow leaf to be digested. They live in bogs and wet areas and are found over most of the state in a few localities. Most are very rare. Genus Sarracenia.
The Sundews. These have glandular hairs with a sticky secretion which traps insects and digests them. In the light of the sun they shine like dew, giving them their name. These are found over most of the state. Some are quite common where they are found in bogs and wet meadows. Genus Drosera.
The Butterworts. These use a sticky leaf surface to trap small insects much like fly paper. The leaf surface feels slick like butter. Very rare around lake margins, wet pine lands, bogs and wet meadows. Genus Pinguicula.
Bladderworts. These can be found in almost any lake that has enough sun to form weed mats, and are found over most of the state. Most are quite common, and in some areas are in almost any body of standing water. They use tiny bladder traps with an intricate trigger mechanism to trap tiny invertebrates such as mosquito larvae and water fleas. Genus Utricularia.
Venus Flytrap, the signature of southeastern carnivorous plants. They use a cunning trap which looks suspiciously like an old fashioned bear trap to enfold any insect which lands on the trap. They are endemic (only found there) to the coastal area of North Carolina and South Carolina in a circle about 75 airline miles from Wilmington NC. (Radford)
A note about scientific naming.
Culture and growing: You might have gotten interested in growing carnivores by now, but remember: they have very special cultural requirements, and if you try to put them out in the garden, no matter how good a garden it is, they will die, and you will never want to buy one again. Look first at the web pages of growers. They have a vested interest in maaking sure you are happy with your plants, and the information there will be sound.
Please don't write me and ask where any of these plants might be found; all of them are rare, most are endangered, some severely so. Many of these populations have been wiped out by plant poachers, and though you might be very honest, someone else might find out, and, though remote, I do not like to take chances. I will tell about a few of these in fact, but they are on land that is protected, and the sites are well known.
All of these plants are available from a host of growers. Some of the extremely rare types may not be readily available, but a little searching might turn some up. Two reputable growers I have found are Dangerous Plants and Niagara Exotics. Also, Meadowview Biological is a not for profit organization which sells many rare types of Pitcher Plants, and buying from them will support re-introduction of native Pitcher Plants in their historic range.
Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas by
Radford, Ahles and
Bell. The University of North Carolina Press, 1964, 1968 A very
book of the vascular plants of North and South Carolina, though a bit
Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada by Donald E. Schnell, John F. Blair, Publisher, 1976. A very lively book full of information about every carnivorous plant in the US and Canada, with a wealth of information on growing them. I have heard there is a new edition of this book with even more information in it.
Copyright 2003, The Appalachian Naturalist