International Carnivorous Plant Society

World Carnivorous Plant Day 2021

The first World Carnivorous Plant Day (WCPD) was celebrated on 5 May 2021 with videos and a carnivorous plant photo contest.

The event was organized by Kenny Coogan and Carson Trexler. John Kim edited the videos.

Happy World Carnivorous Plant Day

We've asked our members from around the world to share their passion and expertise of carnivorous plants. Throughout WCPD, on the hour, every hour, we will be releasing a video here on our YouTube and our Facebook page. Some videos are funny, others offer growing advise, and some speak to the necessary conservation initiatives needed to save these amazing plants. We hope you enjoy!

Kazuki Tagawa: Japanese Sundews Catch Prey in Groups, & Other Facts

Japanese scientists have produced a large corpus of research on carnivorous plants. Indeed, a carnivorous plant society has existed in Japan since 1949, nearly 30 years before the start of the early ICPS. Dr. Takagawa is an eminent scholar of Japanese Drosera (and an author for a guidebook on them too, which is available in English). His studies have found relationships the plants form with other organisms that link them closely to their ecology, revealing a degree of ecological embeddedness that has become something of a defining attribute of carnivorous plants in general.

Adam Cross: Questions about the Carnivorous Plants of Australia

The complex and unique ecosystems that comprise Australian carnivorous plant habitat are of special concern. Southwest Australia alone is home to nearly half the world’s Drosera species, rare and endangered perennial Byblis species, the aquatic Venus flytrap Aldrovanda vesiculosa, and is the only place where Cephalotus follicularis is endemic. Here Dr. Cross briefly expounds on his study of Aldrovanda vesiculosa, of which he is a renowned authority, while noting other salient aspects of carnivorous Australian flora.

Alastair Robinson and Adam Cross: The Endangered World of Carnivorous Plants

These two widely respected botanists discuss the imminent threats that face carnivorous plants in the wild, including habitat destruction, climate change, and poaching. Robinson and Cross astutely relate the very unique and important natural ecology of carnivorous plants to their vulnerability to man-made dangers in our global world, touching on actions that individuals and organizations can take in response to these problems.

Bartosz Płachno: The Scientific Importance of Carnivorous Plants

In a dynamic Q & A with middle school students, Dr. Płachno of Poland touches on multiple topics, including the definition of protocarnivorous plants and the protocarnivory of the peculiar Australian genus Stylidium, also known as triggerplants, and the carnivory of the corkscrew plants, Genlisea.

Ulrike Bauer: The Complexity of Nepenthes Adaptations

Dr. Ulrike Bauer, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, is a prominent scholar of Nepenthes. She has studied the kinetics behind the trapping mechanisms of these plants as a part of their complex physiological ecology. Dr. Bauer points out that the complicated relationships carnivorous plants, such as Nepenthes, have with their environment makes them ideal subjects of research and rich with potential uses in science and beyond. Outside botany, her work has been influential in industrial and scientific surfaces engineering.

Rob Cantley, Diana Cantley, and Professor Entwhistle: A Tour of Borneo Exotics and their role in conservation

Established in Sri Lanka in 1997, Borneo Exotics propagates a wide variety of Nepenthes (tropical pitcher plants) and are continuously selectively breeding new and more horticulturally desirable hybrids and cultivars, using entirely state-of-the-art and conservation-friendly techniques. To date, they have bred more than 2,000 different hybrids. Get a behind the scenes tour of this amazing facility with Rob Cantley, Diana Cantley and Professor Entwhistle.

Chris Thorogood: Oxford Botanic Garden

Dr Thorogood is an accomplished botanic artist & author, and deputy director at the Oxford Botanic Garden in the UK. His long and intimate history with cultivating carnivorous plants and observing them in the wild gives him an excellent platform from which to answer questions about their enigmatic needs which arise specifically because of their carnivory.

Matze Maier: Green Jaws: Carnivorous Plant Care for Beginning Growers

Green Jaws’ Matze Maier of Germany has been keeping global audiences captivated with his world-class, Instagram-perfect carnivorous plant nursery for years, from which he supplies Europe with both top-quality guidance and beautiful plants. Those starting out in the hobby can reference Green Jaws, as Matze offers a beginners guide to whet your appetite for a variety of venus flytraps, pitcher plants, tropical butterworts, sundews, and more.

Greg Allan and Cindy Chiang: Byblis, an Introduction to the Rainbow Plants

Byblis are an enigmatic and relatively unstudied genus of striking sticky-leaved plants resembling narrow-leaved sundews. All are native to Australia and New Guinea where they exist alongside numerous other carnivorous genera, including Drosera (some of which look remarkably similar to filiform Byblis), Utricularia, and Nepenthes. Byblis are found as annuals or, rarely, perennials, in tropical habitat defined by fire. In this presentation, Allan and Chiang also describe the genus Byblis as possessing active flypaper traps, an attribute that has not until recently been applied to the genus.

François Mey: Meeting Botanical Artist François Mey

Botanical artist François Mey recounts the development and creation of the World Carnivorous Plant Day logo, featuring Cephalotus follicularis with the Northern hemisphere in its mouth. Francois also reflects on the discovery of Nepenthes bokorensis (Mey 2009) and N. holdenii (Mey 2010), two species which he formally described from Cambodia.

Author Joanne Mattern reads her book Disgusting Plants

Joanne Mattern is an author of more than 350 books for pre-teen children. Her work represents a deeply personal effort to promote general literacy and reading comprehension skills in young children. Alongside this, Mattern would advocate for the involved study of the wide array of subjects of which she writes. Here she reads Disgusting Plants, her book on bizarre flora organized and written for ages 8-10 (often the age at which one has their first encounter with carnivorous plants).

Author Mary Batten reads her book Hungry Plants

Her book Hungry Plants is a broadly-read chapter book for early grade elementary school students, roughly ages 7-9. Her work is perhaps one of the longest-standing children’s introduction to the biology of carnivorous plants and deserves recognition for introducing many young people to the interest. A reliable and enriching source of information early on, it credits Dr. Barry Rice as an important reference for accuracy.

Rachel Wilson, Leslie Bradbury, and Kenny Coogan: Carnivorous Plants as Educational Models

Carnivorous plants are endlessly engrossing and beautiful, their bizarre traits offering excellent research opportunities and insight into botany and biology as a whole. This also makes them excellent subject matter in education. Dr. Bradbury and Dr. Wilson reveal a lesson plan for early elementary school students modeled around carnivorous plant adaptations which will catch the attention of even the most fidgety children and inspire the curiosity of teachers too.

Ulrike Müller: Hydrodynamics of Bladderwort Traps

The complex trapping mechanisms of Utricularia have firmly asserted carnivorous plants’ place as superlative predators in nature - the fastest-moving predator on earth is in fact the lowly bladderwort, specifically those species with active vacuum traps. Here Dr. Müller interacts with young students on the subject of nervous trapping mechanisms in Utricularia, among other carnivorous plants.

Tom Givnish: Discovering Carnivory in a Bromeliad, and the Modern Definition of CPs

Dr. Givnish recounts his discovery of carnivory in the South American bromeliad Brocchinia reducta after visiting its habitat in the wild. Dr. Givnish also recalls formulating the modern definition of carnivory in plants, a scholastically formative outline of constraints which has been used in botanical literature to define new carnivorous plants since the 1980s.

Damon Collingsworth: Growing Mexican Butterworts

Damon Collingsworth, co-owner of the world-renowned nursery California Carnivores with Peter D’Amato, is a professional horticulturist of carnivorous plants whose passion lies in the hybridization of semi-succulent Mexican Pinguicula. The ideal houseplant in many ways, cultivating Mexican pings is a simple, captivating, and rewarding hobby, and with the plethora of collectible hybrids at California Carnivores, it promises to be forever new for years to come.

Maggie Chen: Giant Venus Flytraps and How to Grow Them

Maggie Chen of Southern California time and again has awed the world with her spectacularly-grown blue-ribbon Venus flytraps. Cared for with a diligent and ambitious eye for potential, Maggie’s plants are fit for the Olympics - or, perhaps more accurately, it is Maggie’s compounded experience and research that has earned her exemplar venus flytraps worthy of her discipline. Learn how she developed her growing technique here, and be ready to take notes!

Barry Rice: Conservation and Cultivation of Carnivorous Plants

Dr. Rice has been an integral asset to various aspects of ICPS functioning for many years. In a Q & A with middle school students he touches on the biological classification of carnivory in plants, their uniqueness in science, and their conservation in the wild vs. conservation in culture. Dr. Rice also suggests avenues of action for amateurs to take to conserve and research carnivorous plants.

Annual Photo Contest

Our annual photo contest this year concludes the FIRST World Carnivorous Plant Day! We hope you learned something, was inspired by the plants, and will participate in their conservation. Thank you to everyone who participated and to all of our presenters. Your enthusiasm and passion for carnivorous plants is inspiring.