With their perfumed fragrance and lovely colors, pitcher plants beckon, inviting insects to partake of what promises to be the most delicious nectar nestled in the depths of their beguiling wide open red and green lined mouth. But the slope is slippery and tiny plant tentacles pull the insect down into dark depths making escape impossible.
The devious bladderwort works in an equivalent way. Floating on the water, it looks like a pile of seaweed or swamp muck with small yellow flowers. What could be less threatening? Au contraire, when an unsuspecting insect hits the tentacles on the plant’s bladder, it gets sucked in, the trap snaps shut and begins emitting secretions to dissolve its prey.
And don’t even get us started on Venus fly traps–those pretty little devils.
If it all sounds like a horror movie, there’s good reason. Movie makers have long seen carnivorous plants as evil aggressors.
“I have a list of over 100 films and TV shows that featured real carnivorous plants as well as monster plants,” said Peter D’Amato, founder and owner of California Carnivores in Sebastopol, California, one of the largest purveyors of carnivorous plants in the world. “The most famous are Little Shop of Horrors, Day of the Triffids, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Regular films have also had guest appearances of carnivorous plants like Katherine Hepburn feeding ‘Lady’ live bugs in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer.”
But relax. These plants may be deadly for insects, but according to D’Amato, no people-eating plants discovered – at least not yet. Though there was a scare in Europe in the 1870s when rumors ran rampant about the Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar which was fed young female sacrifices.
D’Amato has been a carnivorous plant devotee (he calls them CPs) since he was a kid in the 1960s living in New Jersey and ordered Venus flytraps through a magazine called “Famous Monsters”.
“They promptly died,” he recalls. “Then a classmate told me he knew where CPs grew in the Pine Barrens and showed me pitcher plants and sundews, and I became addicted.”
The book garnered awards from the American Horticultural Society and the Garden Writers Association of America, has long been the go-to for those interested in growing carnivorous plants. The latest edition (there have been ten so far) was fully revised to include the latest developments and discoveries in the carnivorous plant world, making it the most accurate and up to date book of its kind. Besides that D’Amato is also writing a horror novel called “From a Crevice in Hell”, a botanical thriller about the mythological Lucifer Plant from Hell.
“While folks are attracted to CP at first because they don’t just sit there and actively lure, catch, kill and eat insects and other little animals,” said D’Amato, “ultimately it’s their unusual beauty that wins growers over.”
“Since CP grow around the world they require different climates, but most CP come from temperate areas and the North America has more varieties than any place else in the world, especially the southeast,” said D’Amato. “So they require warm summers with a lot of sun and chilly to frosty winter dormancy. Some are native to the Great Lakes area and can be grown outdoors especially in bog gardens.
“Plants like Venus flytraps do best in sunny places during spring, summer and autumn and then must be placed someplace cool and even frosty for winter dormancy when they rest. Purified water or rainwater is best for them. Tropical CPs thrive in tanks as potted plants under grow lights and a few are able to adjust to sunny windowsills.”
But even bad plants can do good. Besides beauty, carnivores may have a healthy side effect.
“Carnivora is an herbal product used to fight tumors and other growths–Ronald Reagan was on it–and it’s produced from Venus flytraps, and tropical pitcher plants that grow in Southeast Asia,” said D’Amato, noting that it’s been used to treat various ailments from menstruation discomfort to antiseptic use.”
Above carnovire photos are courtesy of California Carnivores. and Peter D’Amato’s photo is courtesy of Ten Speed Press.
Mainstream & Independent Titles Score Top Honorsin the 17th Annual Best Book Awards
HarperCollins, Penguin/Random House, John Wiley and Sons, Routledge/Taylor and Francis, Forge, Sterling Publishing, Hay House, Sounds True, Llewellyn Worldwide, NYU Press, Oxford University Press, John Hopkins University Press, The White House Historical Association and hundreds of Independent Houses contribute to this year’s Outstanding Competition!
Business: Motivational Unlock!: 7 Steps to Transform Your Career and Realize Your Leadership Potential by Abhijeet Khadikar Vicara Books
Business: Personal Finance/Investing Enhancing Retirement Success Rates in the United States: Leveraging Reverse Mortgages, Delaying Social Security, and Exploring Continuous Work by Chia-Li Chien, PhD, CFP®, PMP® Palgrave Pivot
Business: Real Estate Market Forces: Strategic Trends Impacting Senior Living Providers by Jill J. Johnson Johnson Consulting Services
Business: Reference The Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings and Remote Work (Non-Obvious Guides) by Rohit Bhargava IdeaPress Publishing
Business: Sales The Visual Sale: How to Use Video to Explode Sales, Drive Marketing, and Grow Your Business in a Virtual World by Marcus Sheridan IdeaPress Publishing
Business: Technology Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders by Ram Charan and Julia Yang IdeaPress Publishing
Business: Writing/Publishing Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves: Criteria-Driven Strategies for More Effective Fiction by Larry Brooks Writer’s Digest Books (a division of Penguin Random House)
Children’s Religious That Grand Christmas Day! by Jill Roman Lord, illustrated by Alessia Trunfio Worthy Kids
College Guides Diversity At College: Real Stories of Students Conquering Bias and Making Higher Education More Inclusive by James Stellar, Chrisel Martinez, Branden Eggan, Chloe Skye Weiser, Benny Poy, Rachel Eagar, Marc Cohen, and Agata Buras IdeaPress Publishing
Cookbooks: General Recipes from the President’s Ranch: Food People Like to Eat by Matthew Wendel The White House Historical Association
Cookbooks: International Cooking with Marika: Clean Cuisine from an Estonian Farm by Marika Blossfeldt Delicious Nutrition
Cookbooks: Regional The Perfect Persimmon: History, Recipes, and More by Michelle Medlock Adams Red Lightning Books
Current Events In All Fairness: Equality, Liberty, and the Quest for Human Dignity, edited by Robert M. Whaples, Michael C. Munger and Christopher J. Coyne Independent Institute
Education/Academic The EQ Intervention: Shaping a Self-Aware Generation Through Social and Emotional Learning by Adam L. Saenz, PhD Greenleaf Book Group
Health: Cancer All Of Us Warriors: Cancer Stories of Survival and Loss by Rebecca Whitehead Munn She Writes Press
Health: Death & Dying Aftermath: Picking Up the Pieces After a Suicide by Gary Roe Healing Resources Publishing
Health: Diet & Exercise Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Breakthrough Dietary Lifestyle to Treat Root Causes of Overeating, Overweight and Obesity by Deborah Kesten, MPH and Larry Scherwitz, PhD White River Press
Health: General True Wellness for Your Gut: Combine the best of Western and Eastern medicine for optimal digestive and metabolic health by Catherine Kurosu, MD, L.Ac. and Aihan Kuhn, CMD, OBT YMAA Publication Center
Health: Medical Reference The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide for Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness by Jill Grimes, MD Skyhorse Publishing
Women’s Issues Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure by Seema Yasmin, illustrated by Fahmida Azim Harper Design, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Young Adult: Non-Fiction My Life, My Way: How To Make Exceptional Decisions About College, Career, and Life by Elyse Hudacsko Self-Published
Donni Webber, creator and owner of fairygardens.com and author of Magical Miniature Gardens & Homes: Create Tiny Worlds of Fairy Magic & Delight with Natural, Handmade Décor(Page Street Publishing 2016; $9.99 Amazon price) offers ideas and instructions for creating a variety of gardens and accessories. Chapters titled The Fairy Sunny House: An Exploration in Fairy Interior Design, A Gourdy Gnome Home: A Gnome in a Gourd, Hobbiton: A Terrarium Garden That Hobbits Will Love and Enchantment in a Gift: Giving the Gift of Magical Fairy Garden Kits feature a myriad of both easy and more complex craft projects. The following are from her book.
Materials: collection of 5 empty vintage cans with lids
removed, drill (or you can use a sharp nail in hammer), pebbles, assorted miniature
plants, garden gloves, garden trowel, potting soil, sand.
1. Using the drill or sharp nail, puncture holes in the
bottom of the tins so that water can drain. Place pebbles in the bottom of the
tins to help with drainage. Choose miniature plants including several
succulents in a color scheme you like.
2. Add top soil to the tin. For the succulents add ½-inch
small pebbles or sand. Add plants. Then add miniature garden items including
the wine cork planter (directions provided below). Create a door and window
Miniature Tin Town Door and Windows
Materials: sharp scissors, paper painting tape, wax paper,
dark brown acrylic paint, paintbrush, wood skewer, red acrylic paint
1. You scissors to cut rectangular door in a square window
from the painting tape. Still the shapes on to the wax paper.
2. Use dark Brown acrylic paint to paint the door and window
Brown with a paintbrush.
3. To make the door handle, dip the end of the wood skewer
into the red acrylic paint and I did come to the door.
4. When the paint is dry, peel the door and window from the
wax paper and stick
1. Use a pen knife to carefully whittle a whole about 1 inch
deep into the center of the cork. Be slow and deliberate with your whittling,
making sure that the blade does not slip and make a hole in the outside of the
cork or cut your hand.
2. Hello Hall in the court with moist soil. Make sure your
succulent cutting has a long stem for planting. Prepare the cutting by using
the nails of your thumb and forefinger to snip off the stem at the end so the
cut is fresh.
3. Use the wooden skewer to make a hole in the soil in the
core planter of the bright depth for the stem of your cycle succulent cutting.
Plant the succulent in the soil and place the planter in your garden.