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The plants (viz. last night’s post) arrived today. They were all alive, though one of them was clearly unhappy.

So! One northern blue flag (Iris versicolor), a broadleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), some floating bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), and a  Venus’ flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) have joined the collection. All are native water plants except the last, which is more of a bog plant (native to the Carolinas).

Man, if they hadn’t gotten here today, or if they’d been in bad shape, I was ready to breathe fire.

Also, the bladderwort and famously the Venus’ flytrap are carnivorous plants. I’ve been fascinated by carnivorous plants since childhood…I used to have more, but one year I had to go away for a couple months and my plant sitter killed them. -_-

Anyway, it has to be admitted that people who know of the Venus’ flytrap are often disappointed by other carnivorous plants; the VF is one of relatively few that have active traps (i.e. ones that actually move on their own). The small ‘bladders’ that give bladderwort its common name are basically just sacs that operate on a valve and negative pressure principle: when sensory hairs on the mouth of the trap are triggered, the valve flies open and water and whatever triggered the trap gets sucked in and the valve closes. It all happens in less than a second. Water gets pumped out, decreasing the internal pressure and thus resetting the trap.

This particular species is a small one suitable for tub gardens, but it has correspondingly small traps. I got this species knowing that many carnivorous plant enthusiasts and aquarium keepers consider it something of a troublesome weed. That way at least I know it won’t be fussy. And the flowers are pretty. But the real point is to remove mosquito larvae without insecticides or having to worry about fish.

It has, however, been some years since I’ve had a Venus’ flytrap and I’m out of practice. Other than these new ones, the only other carnivorous plant I currently have is a tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes sp.) (did I mention someone killed the others?). I would really like to get my hands on the native pitcher plant: Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea, but for various reasons haven’t been able to yet. And one or both of the native butterworts, Pinguicula villosa or P. vulgaris. And possibly the native Drosera rotundifolia. Unfortunately, garden centres, when they carry carnivorous plants at all, tend to carry non-native species that need special care, or odd hybrids and cultivars, which I’m simply not crazy about.

No big deal. I’m patient.