The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: Where can I see wild carnivorous plants?

Alabama
Alabama

California
California

Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth
A: If you have the energy, you can probably find them within a day's drive. In the USA, carnivorous plants such as Utricularia occur in every state, although most are found in the southeastern coastal states. California and Oregon also do especially well, with four genera of carnivorous plants (Darlingtonia, Drosera, Utricularia, and Pinguicula). In Europe, Pinguicula and Drosera are readily accessible, too.

Despite the fact that wild carnivorous plants are so close, if you want to see them you may find it surprisingly hard to locate them. There are two reasons for this.

First, in our own thoughtlessness, we have destroyed most of the habitats that once had carnivorous plants.

Second, with so few sites remaining you have to find out exactly where to go to see the carnivorous plants that are left. But you may discover that the very people you would like to get information from, preserve managers and government officials, may be unwilling to give this to you. This is because so much poaching of carnivorous plants has occurred they are probably going to distrust you. Good luck trying to convince them you are honest---preserve managers have been made angry many times by poachers. I sympathize both with them and with you. It is an unfortunate situation. (I wish that site location data were even more carefully guarded too, because I have seen evidence of many poachers during my own field work.

It is not easy to find out how to see carnivorous plants, but I have been compiling a short (but slowly growing) list of boardwalk-style sites where you can see them. Since carnivorous plants grow in clean, unspoiled locations, even if you are unsuccessful with your search you are usually guaranteed a pleasant time searching. Remember to be wary of suspicious locals, venomous snakes, urushiol-coated plants, dangerous bogs, and blood-sucking insects!

If you get killed on your trip, don't complain to me afterwards!

Other than the places on the list I mention above, I will not reveal site location. Poachers, you know? You never can be sure where they lurk. You will not get site information from the International Carnivorous Plant Society, for the same reason.

If you hear of places where you can see plants, make sure you don't violate any laws on your trip! No trespassing, no poaching. But I sadly warn you---if you take a trip to visit a site that someone tells you about, like road-marker blah-blah on highway blah-blah, the sad truth is that tips much older than five years are often unreliable. Land development is gobbling up what is left.

If you merely want to see any carnivorous plants, you will probably be more successful seeing plants in cultivation.

Page citations: Rice, B.A. 2006a; personal observations.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005