National Geographic Gets Devoured By Carnivorous Plants

By Carl Zimmer | February 16, 2010 12:43 pm

venusI was stunned to learn that National Geographic has never published a story on carnivorous plants. So I wrote one. It’s now out in March issue, as well as on the NG web site. It should come as no surprise that the article is accompanied by dazzling photos that will probably make most readers forget that there’s a story lurking in the shadows, too. You can look at the pictures in the NG slideshow, and see some extra outtakes on the web site of the photographer, Helene Schmitz.

Comments (6)

  1. All that I remember about carnivorous plants is that Terry Pratchett has a greenhouse full of them that he used to grow prior to his recent illness. Maybe they’ve been left to fend for themselves.

    “Terry Pratchett is Britain’s bestselling living novelist and lives behind a (very upmarket) keyboard in Wiltshire, where he answers letters in a desperate attempt to find time to write. He used to grow carnivorous plants, but now they’ve taken over the greenhouse and he avoids going in. He says he doesn’t want to get a life after all, because it feels like he’s already trying to lead three. He is having a new conservatory built for the carnivorous plants, because they deserve it. “

  2. Another Adam

    I love the opening paragraph. Very well written. How well are the evolutianry processes understood? My question isn’t so much the pressures the article talks about but the mechanisms that lead to such sophisticated mechanisms as vacume suction and insect digesting enzymes.

  3. It was actually insect eating plants and orchids that got me into this business and eventually paleontology. I had a big collection of them as a kid. Those insect eating plants were tough to keep.

  4. Darren Garrison

    “Those insect eating plants were tough to keep.”

    Yes, they are. I’ve had several types of them and managed to keep them alive various amounts of time (including less than a year for Nepenthes and Darlingtonia.) But I have a Sarracenia purpurea that I’ve kept alive for around 9 years now. For someone looking to try a bug eater, that might be a good hardy (comparatively) choice.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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