Ok, not dangerous to you or me, but if you are a small, curious insect you are in whole lot of trouble with these guys.
Sundews (Drosera) have many tiny tentacles growing from each leaf and each tentacle has a drop of stickiness at the end. Any passing insect will quickly find itself stuck in the goo and ripe for digestion, as you can see by the fly stuck in the centre of the lowest leaf.
It amazes me that such small plants can be so successful in attracting meals. This baby plant was only about 4cm tall, and while I was getting ready to take this photo, the mozzie hanging down on the left was caught by the foot as it flew in for a look. It is unusual to see this type of sundew in our garden (there are a few different types out there) without most of the leaves hanging on to some hapless victim.
Every year when the weather gets cold these tiny killers start showing their faces. I love carnivorous plants and have a small collection of them so having wild ones growing in my garden makes me very happy.
I was sitting in my thinking spot yesterday, otherwise known as the Steps of Death to regular readers, and watching the Venus Fly Trap. You might remember that I moved some of my carnivorous plants out to the front verandah to feast on the wasps. Well, Flytrap has been having a high old time and many stripy stingers have fallen victim to its enticing jaws.
Watching it got me thinking, surely there must be articles about man-eating plants.
A search threw up this article about Devils Snare, a terrifying plant described by the naturalist Mr Dunstan as a kind of vegetable octopus. You might also know Devil’s Snare as a plant from the Harry Potter novels, I think both plants came from the same place….
What a great story. There was Mr Dunstan, out for a walk with his dog when he was attacked by a man-eating plant. He was walking in the jungles of Central America though, and in 1892 there would be no better setting in the world for a story like this. I wonder if the plant preferred human or dog?
This story is just wonderful. The details of the plant make it sound so menacing; bare interlacing stems of a dark nearly black hue, oozing with a thick viscid gum. Ick.
The twigs were like grabby tentacles, lined with little mouths or suckers that left skin red and blistered on contact. Ouch.
Even better, the last part of the article. Imagine a plant that has the presence of mind to grasp a piece of bloody meat and, once it sated its thirst, toss the drained flesh aside like yesterday’s sushi.
I just wish I had one of them on the steps of death. None of those annoying door-knockers would make it past ever again!