6 Fascinating Plants that Trap Insects

Last Updated: 19.10.2023
Dhruvdeep Singh
Written by
Meet Dhruv, a writer and nature lover from Amritsar, Punjab, who fell in love with gardening during the lockdown. With a B.Tech in Computer Science and over four years of writing experience, he brings a tech-savvy perspective to gardening. Dhruv's articles are a journey into the world of plants, offering exciting adventures for fellow nature enthusiasts.

Carnivorous plants feed on living organisms to fulfill their food needs. Have a look at some amazing Plants that Trap Insects that you can also grow!

Plants that Trap Insects

Ever heard about specimens that cunningly trap their prey? Yes, such plants really exist, and many gardeners grow them indoors too! Here are some unusual Plants that Trap Insects for their nutrition.

Check out some unusual plant varieties you can grow in India here

What are Insectivorous Plants?

Plants that feed on insects are called insectivorous plants, sometimes referred to as carnivorous plants as well. This bizarre plant species devour on small insects fluttering in the surroundings to survive and grow. They have an attractive appearance, sweet scent, and an inescapable trap mechanism.

They dwell in moist but very poor nutrient soil and are found near swamp, muddy, boggy, and sandy shores. Such plants attract their prey by exuding sweet scents and finally trap them using their modified leaves.

Where do these Insectivorous Plants Found?

On the worldwide level, these plants are found in all continents, except for Antarctica. Their rich diversity is spotted in Canada, Greenland, Spain, France, Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, Poland, and India.

In India, drosera and Utricularia species are found in plain lands and water bodies, pinguicula at the high altitudes of Himalaya, and Nepenthes in the Northeast regions.

Categorization of Carnivorous Plants Based on their Trap Mechanism

Different plants use a unique mechanism to trap their prey. For instance, pitcher plants use pitfall traps in which they have hollow cavities filled with digestive enzymes.

Venus flytrap engages the snap trap method, where the leaves snap shut, as the insect makes some movement on its leaves and hairs.

Flypaper traps secrete adhesive sticky mucilage that stuck the insects.

Bladder traps are designed to generate an inner vacuum to suck the insect inwards.

Whereas lobster pot trap features hollow tubes with downward hairs that push the insect inside, leaving no path to escape.

Have a look at some weird plants you can grow indoors here


Plants that Trap Insects

1. Tropical Pitcher Plant / Monkeycups


Botanical Name: Nepenthes

Method: Pitfall trap

This plant features cup-like leaves known as pitfall traps that are seen hanging from the plant. These cupped leaves lure the insects with their sweet nectar smell.

Once the prey lands on the pitfalls and peeks inside for nectar, it falls inside these cups. Then, the cups start secreting digestive liquid that dissolves the prey. The walls of these cups are very slippery that ensures that insects wouldn’t climb away.

2. Butterwort

Plants that Trap Insects 2

Botanical Name: Pinguicula

Method: Flypaper trap

It is a passive trapper and hence it does not move to catch the prey. The leaves of butterwort have a coating of sticky resins that appear like droplets of water or nectar. Once the insect comes in search of the nectar and sits on the nectar, it finds itself caught in the adhesive substance.

On sensing the prey, it generates more digestive enzymes for trapping the insect. Some of the species have been reported to slowly rolling over their edge to digest their meal. Their favorite prey is gnats and flies.

3. Sundews

Botanical Name: Drosera 

Method: Flypaper trap

These are flypaper plants that catch insects with their shiny adhesive droplets. The leaves of sundew have long hair-like tentacles and have sticky glands on the tips. These glands release a pleasing scent and secret a gluey liquid that shines like dews in the sunlight.

Once the prey gets on the glittering drops on the tentacles, the sticky liquid enzyme entraps and slowly digests it.

4. Bladderworts

Plants that Trap Insects 3

Botanical Name: Utricularia

Method: Bladder trap

The bladderwort plant has the fastest trapping mechanism with a speed of less than a blink of an eye (one-hundredth of a second). These plants thrive only in freshwater lakes or marshy ponds.

The plant has a vacuum-driven bladder mouth with sensitive bristles. When prey comes in contact with these bristles, it triggers to open the trap door. Then, the bladder sucks the prey along with the water inside it using a vacuum. The door closes when it becomes water-tight and remains closed until the prey dissolves.

The trap door reopens after digestion after 15-30 minutes, and the whole bladder becomes void.

5. Venus Flytrap

Botanical Name: Dionaea muscipula

Method: Snap trap

Ants and flies are its favorite meals, though they feed on other insects as well. This snap trap plant has sensitive tooth-like hairs on its pads. Once an insect touches or lands on these hairs, the pads trigger about the prey outset, and the leaf blades snap fold to close. The plant digests the insect, the leaves unfurl back for the next prey.

If the insect touches the bristles two or more times, then only it folds to close. A single touch on bristles does not cause the snap trap.

6. Corkscrew

Plants that Trap Insects 4

Botanical Name: Genlisea

Method: Lobster pot trap

Found in the semi-aquatic environment, the corkscrew plant has underground leaves for trapping the insects. These underground leaves form hollow and spiral tubes.

The tubes have directional hairs so that if the prey enters the tube and if it tries to exit, the directional hairs resist it from moving back. With the help of water flow currents, the insects enter inside tubes but find no going back.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend