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Carnivorous plants consume insects


Image: Jason Mizerek, Fleet Science Center

Where would you expect to find plants on the food chain?

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park houses many unique species of plants. A selection of those plants goes way beyond simply photosynthesizing. Near the center of the Botanical Building hangs a collection of tropical pitcher plants labeled “Carnivorous,” meaning these are meat-eating plants!

Tropical pitcher plants attract small insects through its pitcher-like trapping mechanism.

  • What caused the pitcher plant to adapt into a carnivorous plant?
  • How does a pitcher plant attract insects?
  • How does a pitcher plant digest its meal?
  • What are the conditions of the tropical pitcher plant’s environment and how do those conditions relate to this plant’s need to eat insects?

Carnivorous plants can also be found in the Bog Garden at the San Diego Zoo. Formulate a list of questions, curiosities and wonders about carnivorous plants and then use the links below to learn more.



San Diego Zoo: Carnivorous Plants

San Diego Zoo: Tropical Pitcher Plants

Zoonooz (SD Zoo): Fantastic Flesh-Eating Plants

CK-12: Carnivorous Plants


NGSS & Grade

K-LS1-1, LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

3-LS4-3, LS4.C: Adaptation

4-LS1-1, LS1.A: Structure and Function


3-5 ELM
Life Science