Monday, June 21, 2010

Plants With Eccentric Appetites

I hope everyone had a great weekend and happy Father's Day. This is me with my dad, in the lush garden he tends along with his wife. Exotic plants abound in this small space overflowing with different colors, textures, and scents. On the right you see their banana plant, one of the many important plants which produce food for animals to eat. Without these plants, animal life would perish.

But what are those striking trumpet shaped plants to Dad's left? Those plants have a different way of making their way in this world. Faced with life in harsh, uncompromising environments, these plants have developed exotic appetites. Appetites for animal flesh.

These are carnivorous plants.

What type of individual would grow these deadly (ok, deadly to bugs) plants in their own garden, in fact maintain a whole collection of them? Take a look for yourself - there, next to my dad:

Yep, this mild-mannered Grandmother is an active member of the Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society, attending meetings and organizing carnivorous plant shows. Never judge an eccentric by his or her cover! Glasses and a 'practical' haircut are no defense against eccentricity.

BACPS is a great organization which hold monthly meetings and annual carnivorous plant shows. I would encourage any Bay Areans with an interest in the beautiful and unusual to get involved. I've been remiss in attendance recently, but that doesn't mean you should miss out on any fun! And there's tons of information on growing these plants (which to start with, suppliers, cultivation advice) at their website and meetings.

Below you'll see one of her prize-winning plants, a Sarracenia or North American Pitcher Plant. These plants attract insects with nectar inside their fluid-containing pitchers or trumpets, where the creatures drown. Enzymes in these fluids digest the soft parts of the bodies to nourish these plants, who grow in poor soils. Thus the need to get decent food from somewhere! At the end of the growing season, if you cut open a pitcher you will see the undigested exo-skeletons of the plant's last season meals.

Traditionally thought of as the height of eccentricity, interest in these plants is growing due to their beauty and advances in cultivation. So if you want to get in on the eccentric vibe, start boning up on these plants now!

My outfit reflected this post a wee bit with the spiderweb themed print on this Ann Ferriday top. Yum!

Hat: unknown
Top: Ann Ferriday
Jeans: Levi's Curvy Cut (discontinued - wouldn't you know it)
Shoes: Clark's Passion
Necklace & Earrings: gifts

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