Skunk Cabbage, and Cobra Lilies, and Man-eating Plants! Oh, my!

Our visit to Darlingtonia State Natural Site was the perfect supplement to Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Botany Lesson #3 section about carnivorous plants.  This place happens to be the only Oregon State Park for the purpose of preserving a single species.  Darlingtonia californica (cobra lily) is very rare and the only carnivorous plant in Oregon.

Darlingtonia Wayside sign

Darlingtonia Wayside sign and the Backpack Objective Family

Lysichiton americanus (skunk cabbage) is a Pacific Northwest native plant that grows in swampy areas.  It has an identifying skunk-like odor for attracting insects and leaves that are larger than other local native plants.

Lysichiton americanus (skunk cabbage)

Lysichiton americanus (skunk cabbage)  flowers grow in large clusters on a spikey stem.

Lysichiton americanus (skunk cabbage)  flowers

Boardwalk

Darlingtonia State Natural Site Boardwalk

Mustached plants

Darlingtonia californica (cobra lily) mustached plants

Darlingtonia californica (cobra lily) mustached plants

Cobra lily, salal, and deer fern

Cobra lily flower

Darlingtonia californica (cobra lily) flower

Darlingtonia sign and the Backpack Objective girl

darlingtonia sign

The Backpack Objective kids and grandma looking over boardwalk darlingtonia gardens

Gaultheria shallon (salal) is a Pacific Northwest native plant with edible berries that may also have medicinal uses.

Gaultheria shallon (salal)

Blechnum spicant (deer fern)

Blechnum spicant

Of course, Darlingtonia can’t help bringing to mind the man-eating plants in movies like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, the vine projecting zucchini-like flower from Jumanji, the toothed clamshell chopper from Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Morticia Addams’ ravenous plant named Cleopatra. There are other kinds of carnivorous plants, but none that actually eat humans.

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