Far Out Flora

Chomp 2! Return of the Carnivorous Plants


Hurray for Chomp 2! Return of the Carnivorous Plants exhibition at the Conservatory of Flowers! Matti and I just checked it out. Peter D’Amato, author of The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants, provided tons of specimens for the exhibition. Peter also owns one of the coolest nurseries around, California Carnivores in Sebastopol, CA.

Conservatory of Flowers

Did you know that the Conservatory was built from a kit? It opened back in 1879, but has had quite a bit of downtime due to fire, wind and accidents. In 2003 it reopened after being shut down for eight years.

Nepenthes in the aquatic plant section

Besides the current exhibition, the Conservatory of Flowers has an extensive collection of carnivorous plants including tropical Nepenthes in their aquatic section.

American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) Flower

So really…what is a carnivorous plant?  They are a group of plants native worldwide that trap and absorb nutrients from animals, typically insects.  Most famous is the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula).  However, other common carnivorous plants include American Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia spp.), Tropical Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes spp.), Sundews (Drosera spp.), and Butterworts (Pinguicula spp.).

Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

Nepenthes mikei

This Nepenthes mikei was cool.  We never saw one with chocolate brown cups.

Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia)

More Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia sweetness)

American Pitchers (Sarracenia) and a Butterwort (Pinguicula)

I’ve never had a Butterwort before. Apparently Pinguicula means, “little greasy one” in Latin.

Tropical Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes)

We highly recommend adding one of these babies to your collection.  About two years ago got our first carnivorous plant; a free single rhizome we found on Craigslist.  We were instant fans, and now enjoy our 8-10 species.


  1. Thank you for the partial tour. Someday I hope to actually stand inside the conservatory.

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  3. I’ve got to get over and check out the Chomp exhibit! Looks cool. Did you get by there when they had the train set and the scenes of SF made out of recycled things? That was pretty great. I have to get out to California Carnivores someday too. Never been!

    • Chomp is pretty cool, but California Carnivores is even better :) We like to stop over at Lone Pine Gardens while we’re in the neighborhood too. I didn’t see the recycled city :( We got a membership, so we have no excuse for not going to the Conservatory on a regular basis. I think it had been a year.

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  5. One of the sarracenia displays looks almost like how they sometimes grow in nature, with dozens of plants growing side by size. Very cool.

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