I have to admit to a bit of a fascination. “Hello, my name is Jane, and I’m addicted to carnivorous plants”. God, I feel so much better now that’s out in the open!
Sundew : Drosera rotundifolia (with round leaves)
This isn’t a sudden passion, it’s been going on all my life. As a small kid in London I spent all my time playing in the local park. The first place I headed for was always the old Victorian greenhouse. Not very big, but warm and wet with a smell and aura that I long for now.
The walls were dripping in “staring” Stag Head Ferns and on the benches were Birds of Paradise, Orchids and my favourites the Pitcher Plants with their long tunnels of death.
Venus Flytrap : Spitting out it’s leftovers
Then I progressed to growing my own killers. Every Christmas I would ask for a Venus Fly Trap (I couldn’t find Pitchers at the time… not widespread in the 1970’s!) and I’d keep it in my unheated bedroom until the poor thing wilted and died, but not before I’d watched it devour a few unlucky houseflys.
It wasn’t until quite recently that I even realised that we have our very own native carnivores, the Sundews. Scrabbling around on my hands and knees in one of my friend Hilly’s “heathland” meadows, I came face to face with them. Tiny round, red bejewelled killers. Enticing the insects to an untimely death with their sweet sticky sundew banquet.
Sundew : Drosera integrifolia (with oblong leaves)
Photo courtesy of Hilly Chittenden
A few weeks ago I went to B&Q for some “stuff”. Standing at the till what should be staring up at me but a tiny pot with a tiny Venus Flytrap. The label said £1.25. You’ve probably guessed by now that I had to have it.
The Kitchen Window Venus Flytrap : Spitting out another victim
It’s doing really well. It only gets the purest rainwater and sits on a warm sunny windowsill in the kitchen. Every day it seems to catch a new fly (my eco-friendly flycatcher) and once it’s sucked them dry it opens it’s leaves and spits them out.
I’m not sure what will happen when winter comes but for now my passion is sated…. but maybe you should keep the garlic and crosses close at hand – just in case!