I remember being very young and playing Vs. Super Mario Brothers for the first time at the gas station by my house. I must have been about four years old. I jumped up on one of the first green pipes in World 1-1, and as I landed I was killed by a giant plant with razor sharp teeth, a terrifying experience to my four year old self. I asked my mother if there were really plants like that, and to my horror she said that yes, there were.
Of course, I would later learn that there weren’t actually plants with razor sharp teeth lurking in enormous sewer pipes, but some plants do, in fact, eat living animals.
The most famous of these carnivorous plants is the Venus flytrap. Found natively in the subtropical wetlands of the Carolinas, the Venus flytrap uses its leaves to catch and eat insects and arachnids. Tiny hairs on the inner surfaces of the leaves can sense a spider or insect crawling on them. One triggering of these hairs is not enough to spring the trap, the plant waits until multiple vibrations have been felt in order to assure what it catches is actually alive.
Once the plant has trapped its food, it needs to register about five more vibrations in the closed leaves before digestion begins. The leaves close tight, creating a hermetic seal, and the leaves become a stomach. Digestion takes ten days, after which the leaves re-open and await their next meal. The unique manner in which the Venus flytrap gets its nutrients makes other plants seem quite dull in comparison.
Venus flytraps have been fascinating the world for centuries. Can you name another plant that stars in a Broadway musical? I can’t. The Venus flytrap has gotten a lot of play in popular culture… for a plant. Even though their feeding mechanism is quite slow and utterly benign to humans, it still sparks imaginations. Here are some creative tattoos of Venus flytraps, most of which aren’t quite anatomically accurate, but all of which are amazing in their own right.
Pop punk stalwarts J Church once dropped an album called “Society Is A
Carnivorous Flower,” a phrase I’ve rolled around in my head ever since. To this day, I have no idea how apt that metaphor actually is, but I’ve sure spent a lot of time thinking about carnivorous flowers. They are a unique oddity in the world of plants, one of nature’s most fascinating designs, which in turn makes for some great tattoos.