Biodiversity Heritage Library: From Poetry to Pulp Fiction: Carnivorous Plants in Popular Culture

Discussion in 'Plants: Weblogs of Interest' started by UBC BG RSS Feedreader, Dec 8, 2021.

  1. UBC BG RSS Feedreader

    UBC BG RSS Feedreader Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    Carnivorous plants, beguiling vegetables capable of attracting, trapping, and digesting animal prey, have fascinated generations of botanists on nearly every continent. However, there is perhaps no better way to trace their rise to cultural prominence than through the eyes of the Darwin family. The botanical legacy of Charles Darwin, his grandfather Erasmus, and son Francis, conveys the dramatic shift in how carnivorous plants were perceived by general botanical audiences from the late eighteenth century and into the twentieth. From poetic musings about their carnivorous habits to pulp fiction accounts of man-eating vegetal monsters, the BHL carnivorous plant collection offers a glimpse into the powerful spell these plants have cast over readers and observers through the centuries. Charles Darwin was enamoured with carnivorous plants. As early as 1859, soon after encountering the sundew Drosera rotundifolia on an English heath, the author of On the Origin of Species wrote, “I care more about Drosera than the origin of all the species in the world” (Darwin Correspondence Project). By September 1860 he was working with Dionaea muscipula as well, and would later dub the Venus flytrap “one of the most wonderful” plants in the world (Darwin 1875, 286). Darwin’s rigorous experimentation with these enigmatic vegetal carnivores culminated in 1875 with the publication of Insectivorous Plants. This treatise laid the framework for the study of plant carnivory as it exists today and cemented the notion of carnivorous plants in the scientific and public imagination.

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  2. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I've had this pinguicula for over 10 years (actually, these, for I gave some of the clones to friends, some that died -the plant- others I've lost track of -the friends)

    pinguicula_160924a.jpg pinguicula_170823b.jpg pinguicula_170823c.jpg
     

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