There are many different types of plants that have adapted to their poor soil conditions by becoming carnivorous!

The most famous is of course the Venus Flytrap ( Dionaea Muscipula). Now almost extinct in its natural habitat of North Carolina, this is the plant that most people who grow CP's start off with. Its dramatic traps poised to capture any unsuspecting passing insects!

The simplest in the pitcher families are the Heliamphora - Sun Pitcher. These are really no more than curved leaves that capture rain in which to drown any foolish insects that alight on the leaf. They grow on a range of tabletop mountains in Southern Venezuela. The "Lost World" of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Each isolated mountain has its own distinctive species.

More sophisticated pitchers are found in America. There are the Sarracenia family which has 8 species and many more hybrids. Ranging in size from a few inches tall to over 4 foot, their dramatically coloured pitchers are amongst the most effective insect catchers. Another family is the Darlingtonia Californica. This rare plant, found by cool mountain streams, has a pitcher that looks like a striking cobra - hence its common name.

From Australia there is the fascinating Cephalotus Follicularis. This plant produces both non-carnivorous small flat leaves and lovely pitchers that resemble moccasin slippers!

The most remarkable pitcher plants belong to the Nepenthes family. These weird and incredible plants are found primarily in the rain forests of Southeast Asia. Borneo in particular is the home of many of the 100 or so known species. What is exciting is that even now new species are still being found! A good enough reason to protect the valuable rain forests where these plants are found. The plants again have a large range of sizes and designs. The Rajah not surprisingly is one of the most dramatic. With pitchers the size of footballs, capable of drowning more than insects!!

Another family of carnivorous plants are the Sundews ( Drosera). These employ quite different techniques in catching their prey. Using leaves covered in a sticky mucus they attract and them devour their visitors. Often the leaves entwine the whole insect to speed up the process. Many different varieties of these plants can be found right across the world.

Another plant using sticky leaves are the Butterworts (Pinguicula). These often have large green yellow leaves that have a "buttery" feel to them. Usually catching smaller insects, the plants are very successful at attracting their prey. These plants also produce very beautiful flowers which appear almost continuously.

Not looking like a carnivorous plant at all are the Bladderworts (Utricularia). These plants have non carnivorous leaf-like stolons, but capture their prey through bladders attached to their underground network of growth. A good reason to grow these types of plants is for their often breathtaking Orchid like flowers.