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Uses of Carnivorous Plants

CPs are used in a variety of folk preparations and medicines. From Asia, the fluid from young unopened Monkey Pitchers (Nepenthes) is used for drinking, cleaning wounds or treating incontinence, distress and pain. Their lianas (woody vines) can serve as ropes and their pitchers are used as a pot to boil rice. Scandinavians have used butterworts (Pinguicula) to curdle milk for yogurt or cheese. It is also reported to heal festered sores. Sundew (Drosera) extracts are commonly used in cough syrups and expectorants. Research is being conducted on the cancer preventative qualities of a Venus Flytrap extract.

Perhaps in the future, genetic engineers may fashion common vegetables with carnivorous capabilities. This may reduce our reliance on pesticides and fertilizers.

CPs make a valuable contribution to instructional programs geared to the value and preservation of our wetlands. I have seen many youngsters appreciate wetlands more, once they realize this is the home of the Venus Flytrap. CPs make good subjects in studies of evolution, adaptation, plant propagation and conservation.

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