So a new carnivorous plant has been identified, joining the ranks of the Venus flytrap, pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, Audrey II, bladderworts, and bringing the total number up to who cares? Because carnivorous plants are cool. Mostly, anyway. The newest addition, Triantha occidentalis, isn’t a particularly showy plant, which is probably why it escaped notice for so long, and is one that would probably only be cultivated by specialists, so don’t look for it at the checkout line at your local garden center where you usually find Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and the occasional sundew in plastic cases guaranteed to be dead by the time you get them home, but that’s another story.
What stands out for me about reports of this new plant is that carnivory is now so widely accepted and understood that even popular articles take it in stride and don’t rattle off names of other carnivorous plants, and they don’t show any signs of my personal plant peeve. Ever since Darwin reported that some plants really do consume insects back in 1875 up until, well, pretty close to now, every popular story about carnivorous plants contained some variation of the following:
Instead of being eaten these weird plants eat, reversing the natural order!
NO THEY DON’T. Let’s get this straight: you can reverse a car, you can reverse thrust, you can reverse a jacket from the ‘70’s, you can reverse a photo, you can have role reversals, a court can reverse a ruling, you can even reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, and you can be kind, rewind.
Carnivorous plants don’t “reverse the natural order”. Everything that lives eventually dies, and the Earth is a giant recycling factory where everything that dies ideally becomes sustenance for something else. Animals that eat plants, or, for that matter, animals that eat other animals, will, in time, become food for the plants themselves. Sooner or later we’re all gonna be pushing up daisies, capisce?
Carnivorous plants don’t reverse the natural order. They just cut out a few of the intermediate steps.
And this is the point where I usually share a video from Little Shop Of Horrors because, you know, Day Of The Triffids doesn’t have any catchy songs, but Botanical Chaos has these fun short videos on the care and feeding of easy carnivorous plants, and here’s a good one for right now:
And also here’s a video from Little Shop Of Horrors for obvious reasons.