1. says

    I’ve always found insect-eating plants to be fascinating, yet very creepy.

    Naturally, I found the “Blast Pit” chapter from Half-Life to be incredibly disturbing…


  2. MATTIR says

    That’s almost as bad as the man-eating office plant that tried to eat Max on Get Smart and thereby traumatized my childhood.

    Seriously, I love carnivorous plants, and taking kids to a local bog to look at the sundews and pitcher plants is a highlight of my summer.

  3. otrame says

    You should check out some Torchwood fan fiction. You get tentacles there sometimes. You see, some aliens have tentacles, and since as a friend once noted, Jack Harkness’ Feegle name is Shag Anybody….

    Oh, and then there was that time with Cthulhu. But that was too weird even for me.

  4. TrineBM says

    And sundew grows in Denmark (Soldug – direct translation of sundew), but they are very rare. I’ve never seen one, though I spent much childhood looking, because of their incredible coolness.

  5. Kraid says

    Awesome, I love sundews. I have a lance-leaf sundew that I keep in the office to control escaped specimens from the fruit fly lab down the hall. Works like a charm.

    I also got a small asian pitcher plant, but there are no ants around for it to eat.

  6. KOPD says

    I’ve been fighting ants at my house. They found a way to get straight into the pantry from outside. I tried bait, but they ignored it. I sprayed. That worked for a while. Now they are coming back again. Guess I’ll spray again. I rather like the idea of using a plant, but I doubt it would grow well being shut in the pantry.

  7. Standard curve says

    Can you ever have too many insect eating plants? If there is even one mosquito out there, I vote no!

    Speaking of Half-Life and tentacles, one of the new Doctor Who episodes, “The Beast Below,” has tentacles that look nearly identical to those in the game.

  8. Kraid says

    KOPD, you could try growing the plant in the sun and moving it to the pantry at night or something. It might work, and if not, you still get a cool plant out of the deal.

  9. Glen Davidson says

    Ah ha, cephalopods have tentacles, plants have tentacles — it must be a common plan from God.

    Or anyway, that’s about as lame as “the cell has machines in it, so it must have been designed” spiel. Uh, IDiots, you might want to look at the details, rather than relying upon the underdetermination of words to “make your case.”

    Glen D

  10. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’ve been fighting ants at my house. They found a way to get straight into the pantry from outside. I tried bait, but they ignored it. I sprayed. That worked for a while. Now they are coming back again. Guess I’ll spray again. I rather like the idea of using a plant, but I doubt it would grow well being shut in the pantry.

    This may be 100% wive’s tale, but I hear using chalk, like chalkboard chalk, works. As I have had it explained to me by someone who should have no reason to have any idea how it works, drawing a chalk line where they are coming in screws with the pheromones or something and they don’t follow the trail that was left before.


    the other explanation is that the chalk particles can injure the ants.

    or insert some other reason why here

    In truth, I don’t know how, why or if it would work, but I hear it works.

  11. KOPD says

    I’ve got chalk so I’ll give it a shot. And I’ll spray some more chemicals around while I’m at it. I really wish I could find the nest, but I always lose the buggers in the grass.

  12. dNorrisM says

    I found a sundew in a bog in Conneticut once. Personally I’m facinated with bladderworts. I’d like to engineer a man-eating one.

    I also like those man-eating lilacs from a Batman episode.

  13. John Scanlon FCD says

    Sundews are common around Sydney, often in hanging swamps on the edges of the dissected sandstone plateau, most of which have now been built over (also nearly wiping out the red-crowned froglet, which liked the same sort of spots). I collected some as a kid but they didn’t thrive in captivity.

    Couldn’t watch the video – it diverts to the Wikipedia entry on Drosera.

  14. Dr. Matt says

    Drosera capensis is one of the most satisfying carnivorous plants for windowsill cultivation: relatively large, with dramatic leaf movements, and not too tricky to grow. I’ve kept them in a sunny spot in a cool room for years, sitting in a tray of rain or DI water. In the winter you can feed them dry food for tropical fish, every couple of weeks.

    The Cape Sundew comes from the same part of the world as Roridula, an unrelated but vaguely sundew-like carnivorous plant that gets big enough to catch birds. Hardly anyone can keep Roridula alive in captivity, though.

  15. andrewblairesch says

    OOOH! Carnivorous Plants! I love them. I’m growing a big fat colony of Nepenthes Alata in my room right now. Thinking of adding some Sarracenia soon, and maybe some venus flytraps…

    Thanks P.Z.

  16. Dnic says

    No mention of the mucilaginous substance on the tentacles? Possibly the best word in botany: [i]”Fangschleim”[/I].

  17. Crudely Wrott says

    KOPD, a useful and eco-fuzzy ant defense is Diatomaceous Earth. It’s composed mainly of the glassy skeletons of diatoms and it is devious and evil weapon against many of our common exoskeltal cohabitants.

    Essentially tiny shards of the silicate glass that diatoms assemble into a scaffold for themselves, these little points can get into the chinks and joints of armored critters. I imagine it might be like what happens if you grind fiberglass without covering up. The itch is maddening.

    The stuff is usually available at all fine farm and garden outlets and is not costly. I’ve had some success using it to foil cockroaches and fire ants. It works better on fire ants.

    To apply, first note the path the ants take (read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”) and note where they emerge from under a wall. Spread diatomaceous earth across their path. Expect them to establish other paths. Repeat application.

    And you can just sweep up and reuse it. Also reported to be effective against snails and slugs, should they be threatening.

    This stuff also has a wide variety of applications in many products and consumer goods. It may be in your toothpaste as it is a very fine abrasive.

  18. mel.unique says

    One of my favorite plants! Thanks for the picture. I used to have these and the flytraps in a terrarium as a kid. Not enough flies around for long-term viability, though.

  19. b.richard.martin says

    I have some mosquitos living in my bedroom curtains (yes, I know, I was like WTF when I saw then flying out) so I might use a carnivorous plant in here. But it’s winter here, so they seem to have gone away.