Carnivorous plants are known for their ability to turn the tables on the food chain, eating animals instead of the other way around. In this week's Lone Star Adventure FOX 4's takes us to Garland to a very unusual garden called the Texas Triffid Ranch.
The movie Little Shop of Horrors finds comedy in the gruesome scenario of a hapless florist and his flesh eating plant. Somehow, the story makes us giggle about a carnivorous plants, which do in fact exist, though their man-eating capabilities only appear in science fiction.
There's no science fiction at the Texas Triffid Ranch in Garland. Owner Paul Riddell really does feed animals to his plants like his Venus' flytraps. Riddell says people go crazy for the flytraps because the plants actually look like a mouth that is closing but says he's personally not fond of them because they're so temperamental.
Less finicky are the pitcher plants which are happy to gobble up crickets. The bottom of the pitcher has about a tablespoon of digestive fluid mixed with a special polymer that tangles insects up. The bug eventually gets exhausted and dies, allowing the plant to digest it.
Riddell calls this his Texas Triffid Ranch, named after a popular book in which meat-eating plants evolve and go after people. He's written for several magazines and taken his plants to horror conventions where he finds others who share his interest. Riddell's own fascination began while living briefly near Jacksonville, Florida where there are several varieties of carnivorous plants.
You don't have to go to Florida to see carnivorous plants in the wild. The Piney Woods of East Texas is another spot where they grow naturally. However, many carnivorous plants are endangered so collecting from the wild is discouraged and is, in some cases, illegal.
For more information about the Texas Triffid Ranch please visit their website.
KDFW FOX 4
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