Flytraps, sundews and pitcher plants have all evolved a taste for meat. These carnivorous plants employ cunning methods to attract, capture and consume prey: sundews use a sticky liquid, flytraps snap shut and pitchers drown their prey in cup-shaped leaves. The main diet is usually made up of insects and other invertebrates but larger pitcher plants are known to attract and digest small rodents and reptiles as well.
This additional source of nutrients supplements the diet of these flowering plants, as they usually grow in areas where soils are nutrient poor. The order contains around 400 species with representatives found right across the globe, including the tropical pitcher plants of Southeast Asia and the Venus flytraps of North America. Sundews can be found in the UK’s wet and acidic bogs.
Scientific name: Nepenthales
The following habitats are found across the Flytraps, sundews and pitchers distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Nepenthales (Nepenthales Bercht. & J.Presl) is an order of flowering plants in the Cronquist system of plant classification. Plant systematists currently favor the APG III system of 2009 over the older Cronquist for classifying flowering plants. The order was placed in the subclass Dilleniidae, which in the 1981 version of this system included:
The APG II system assigns the first two families to the order Caryophyllales and the last family to the order Ericales.
All three families are carnivorous plant families. The Droseraceae contains three extant genera: Drosera (sundews), which catch insects with adhesive droplets; and Dionaea (Venus flytrap) and Aldrovanda (waterwheel plant), which capture them in leaves with interlocking teeth. The other two families include pitcher plants, which drown their prey.
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