Carnivorous plant  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Carnivorous plants (sometimes called insectivorous plants) are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients (but not energy) from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, most focusing on insects and other arthropods.

Cultural depictions

See also: Man-eating tree

Carnivorous plants have long been the subject of popular interest and exposition, much of it highly inaccurate.

A large man-eating tree consumed a young woman in Madagascar in 1878, as witnessed by Dr Carl Liche, or so he reported in the September 26 1920 issue of The American Weekly. The woman was supposed to have been a member of the Mkodos, a 'little known but cruel tribe'. The woman was pictured in an accompanying artwork. In 1925 the same paper offered another carnivorous plant story, of a tree species on Mindanao, in the Philippines. There is no evidence that either of these plants is more than a fanciful story.

A fanciful carnivorous plant called Audrey Junior (called Audrey II in the musical) with an insatiable appetite was the central theme of the 1960 black comedy The Little Shop of Horrors.

Cartoons frequently make use of monstrous plants; examples include, but certainly are not limited to Inspector Gadget, Darkwing Duck, The Simpsons and Zetsu, a villain character in the manga series, Naruto.

The triffids presented in John Wyndham's book, The Day of the Triffids, are plants which can uproot themselves, move, and can kill with a poisonous, whip-like tail. The book leaves open the question of whether the triffids are intelligent.

In Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Pi encounters an island of algae which he later discovers to be carnivorous.

The movie Jumanji features various fictional carnivorous plants, one being large enough to capture and devour an entire automobile with its huge tentacles and mouth.

Nintendo's Super Mario video games feature the Piranha Plant, a Venus fly trap-like enemy. They are almost always portrayed as a leafy green stalk topped with a white-spotted green or red globe, almost bisected by a toothy white mouth.

The movie Minority Report features a greenhouse full of Sarracenia and Nepenthes in one scene. Also within the area of science fiction, Roger Wilco encounters man eating fungi and plants after crashing on an alien planet in Space Quest 2.

Some plants in the Edanna Age of the computer game Myst III: Exile are able to trap animals. One of the puzzles that need to be solved in order to win the game involves setting a bird-like creature free from a plant that resembles the trap found in the Nepenthes genus.

A generic species of pitcher plant appears in the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Unlike similar plants, however, it does not produce harvestable ingredients. The reasons for this, and the presence of plants with no purpose in the game, are unclear.

The cult Killer Tomato series often hints to the fact that the tomatoes eat people, despite not having mouths until the third film and TV series.

In the computer game expansion Age of Mythology: The Titans, there is a myth unit that can be summoned called Carnivora which is a carnivorous plant resembling a giant Venus Flytrap that attacks with tentacle-like vines and can ensnare and eat prey as big as a horse. An aquatic version of it can also be summoned.

The CRPG game Fallout 2 man-eating weed can be found and fought. These plants can not only move and bite, they also throw sharp spores at distant opponents. As an in-joke, an intelligent specimen called Seymour can be found.

In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, there are Carnivorous Plant enemies called Lashers. They have a tall stalk with a toothed, flower-like bulb at the end, move on a mess of roots and vines beneath them, and attack with two whip-like vines which grow directly from their main stalk and are almost like arms. They are mostly found in the prehistoric jungle themed area, Un'Goro Crater, but can be found in a few instances, including Maraudon and the Wailing Caverns. Various other Carnivorous Plants feature in other MMORPGs.

The ultimate power of the Plant Control powerset in the MMORPG City of Villains summons a sentient, mobile, giant carnivorous plant, fittingly called Fly Trap.

In the Deltora Quest book series by Emily Rodda, Carnivorous Plants called Grippers are present. They resemble toothed mouths growing in the ground, and are covered with cabbage like leaves which open up to let prey fall in when stepped on. They are dangerous to Humans.

In the Harry Potter series, there are at least two plants that will attack humans aggressively, the Venomous Tentacula and Devil's Snare. The Whomping Willow, a tree on the campus of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is also known to attack humans, animals, and anything else in its path (including flying cars).

In the videogame Gears of War, large carnivorous plants called "Seeders" shoot bulbs at their enemies.

In the Sierra video game The Hobbit, there are two types of carnivorous plants in the game. A piranha-like plant is present in the "Roast Mutton" level and a giant, carnivorous flower is present in the "Flies and Spiders" .

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Carnivorous plant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jan-Willem Geerinck. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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