Charles Darwin Loved Carnivorous Plants Above All Else

It may have been his crowning achievement but Darwin’s most beloved work was not his theory of Evolution. Darwin cited in life that one of his favorite studies he conducted was his work done on carnivorous plants. He loved the fact that a plant had evolved to eat something in response to its environment, a phenomena called convergent evolution. Darwin loved carnivorous plants so much he wrote a book about them titled Insectivorous Plants, which was his name for them. It came from the fact that it appeared the plants only consumed insects.

As the video states, that is not the only thing carnivorous plants eat. Plants have been known to ingest frogs, geckos, and small rodents. So now we approach the question that has been on your mind from the start. The answer is there is no known carnivorous plant out of the 600 and growing known number that has or could ever eat a human. The reason why however, is more of a size and less of a willingness thing.

It would be a horrible idea for a small plant to try to digest a human or any large mammal. Due to their long period of digestion it is highly likely that the meat off larger animals would rot before they could be fully digested. This would of course poison the plant and kill it. That being said, infected skin has been given to carnivorous plants before and it has been eaten without any negative side effects.

The idea of giant man eating plants developed long before the Little Shop of Horrors, however. The first believed “man eating tree” surfaced out of a newspaper article written by Edmund Spencer for the New York World. Spencer faked the account of German explorer Karl Liche who claimed to have seen a ritual sacrifice to a man eating tree in Madagascar. The story spread like wildfire when it was published in 1874, and remained valid until 1955 where it was debunked by author Willy Ley. Perhaps one day our plants will rise up and try to eat us, but for now we are safe to continue to ingest them in our everyday meals.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.