Meet the 4 Carnivorous Plants of New York State
Bear, foxes, and falcons aren't the only meat-eaters in New York. While the most common carnivores usually have at least two legs (and eyes), there maybe be more native carnivorous plants in the Empire State than you thought.
To be quite honest, I thought that carnivorous plants only existed in warmer climates. They seemed to have a more tropical vibe (I even owned a Venus flytrap when I briefly lived in California), and I was surprised to learn how many hungry florae were my neighbors. Let's meet (meat?) them.
Carnivorous Plants in New York State
First off, all of these plants can be found in a very particular environment. In celebration of National Wetlands Month, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) took to Facebook to share another reason why they are such an important part of our natural landscape: wetlands are the only home to all four of the carnivorous plant species in New York. Let's start with the purple pitcher plant (below).
Purple Pitcher Plants in New York
Pitcher plants use "passive pitfall traps" to secure their meals. While more famous carnivorous plants, like the above-mentioned Venus flytrap, literally snaps its "mouth" shut, pitcher plants take a more laidback approach. First, their nectar "intoxicates" insects who then fall into the bottom of a pitcher-shaped flower from which they can't escape.
Horned Bladderwort Plants in New York
Speaking of snap traps, the horned bladderwort takes more of a flytrap approach to catch their prey. Instead of a "mouth" snapping closed, however, the plant has hairs, that when agitated by an insect, triggers a "trapdoor" to open and the insect to fall into its "bladder".
Sundew Plants in New York
Both the round-leaved sundew and spoon-leaved sundew (above) use a third technique, called "sticky flypaper traps" by the NYS DEC. The technique is pretty self explanatory, with the plants excreting a sticky substance that attracts and traps insects. Then, "nearby tentacles coil around the insect and smother it", according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
Plants like the horned bladderwort are becoming less and less common due to their shrinking habitats. While most plants require specific conditions to survive, wetland plants are quite frankly running out of wetlands in many parts of the country. Next time you find yourself in marshy conditions, take a minute to see if you're sharing the space with one of New York's four special carnivores.