Fortean Plants (Carnivorous; Man-Eating)

Semyaz

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#31
riverfern said:
quote]I saw one such plant in an old....tarzan movie I believe.
It was more of a large bulb like plant that looked like a very large flower on the ground,but when stepped on it would immediatly close its petals upward into a bulb shape and engulf the person until digested.
Wasn't there something like that in 'Jumanji' too?
Now you mention it yeah there was. The description is different, but the concept is the same!!

Good thinking!![/quote]
 

Xanatico

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#32
The one in Jumanji had a tongue like thing that it shot out, bit like a frog. Think there was something similar in an old Star Wars comic. And of course the Little Shop of Horrors had a man eating plant.
 

taras

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#33
Semyaz said:
I've found something else about the man-eating tree in a book called Unexplained Phenomena: A Rough Guide Special by Bob Rickard and John Mitchell.
Semyaz, you might like to know - if you didn't already - that Bob Rickard is also the founder of Fortean Times :)

If you did... well... *crawls back into woodwork*
 

Semyaz

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#34
ttaarraass said:
Semyaz said:
I've found something else about the man-eating tree in a book called Unexplained Phenomena: A Rough Guide Special by Bob Rickard and John Mitchell.
Semyaz, you might like to know - if you didn't already - that Bob Rickard is also the founder of Fortean Times :)

If you did... well... *crawls back into woodwork*
... reluctantly confessess... no i didnt know that :eek: ... but i am very grateful for finding out...much appreciated thank you :D
 

Xanatico

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#35
Or did people here know that at the New Scientist gift shop there is a link to a place where you can order a package full of seeds for assorted meat-eating plants? Sadly there seems to be no man-eating ones between them. Though perhaps if you have green fingers you could get them big enough to be mouse eating.
 

Semyaz

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#36
I found this further description by Carle Liche on a similar thread to this on another website.

which he described as; similar to a pineapple, only 8 feet tall with 8 leaves hanging from its apex, which were each about 11-12 feet long. (From here on I don't really understand the description given) "A clear treacly liquid with high intoxicating properties trickled into a pair of concave plates arranged one inside the other. These comprised the apex of the tree, and from beneath the rim of the bottom plate a series of hairy green 2.5 metre(8 foot) long tendrils stretched out in every direction. Above these, six extremely thin tentacle-like feelers, each over 1.5 metres (5-6 feet) long and white in colour, reared up to the sky, twisting and twirling incessantly like sinister serpents".
Source: Unexpained Mysteries Discussion Forums

Apparently the poster got it from "Atlas of the Unexplained" by Carl Shuker.

This report of the man-eating tree comes from Madagascar, which, as some of the other poster on the above mentioned thread mentioned, has been (pretty much) fully explored and no such tree has been found... at least that we know of... ;)

However, I feel that it does not discount reports from other, relatively unexplored areas from around the world, ie parts of Africa, and parts of the Amazon.
 

QuaziWashboard

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#37
Semyaz said:
riverfern said:
quote]I saw one such plant in an old....tarzan movie I believe.
It was more of a large bulb like plant that looked like a very large flower on the ground,but when stepped on it would immediatly close its petals upward into a bulb shape and engulf the person until digested.
Wasn't there something like that in 'Jumanji' too?
Now you mention it yeah there was. The description is different, but the concept is the same!!

Good thinking!!
And Little Shop of Horrors! ;)
 

PeniG

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#38
And George of the Jungle!

Oh, c'mon, the cartoon? Jay Ward? Theme song covered by Weird Al? Elephant named Shep (George and Shep agree that Shep's a dog)? Shapely redheaded female companion referred to by George as "long-haired guy who never shave?" Gorilla companion with an Oxford accent, or at least an American's idea of one?

Anyway, in the title sequence of the cartoon George gets gobbled up by a big Audrey-II like plant which thrashes around in time to the music as he fights it from the inside and finally is forced open. The man-eating plant meme is out there, somewhere. When I read Shukar's book I recognized the description immediately as the one from George and having the image added interest to the story of its origin. I have no idea how cryptofaunally inclined Ward was, but suspect he got the image out of a movie, probably the Tarzan one mentioned.
 

Treesong

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#40
I'm quite interested in Cryptobotany as I'm a plant scientist. Plants that eat people in the manner depicted by the Ya-te-veo are not really credible. I suppose it's possible that as some of the larger carnivorous plants can consume small mammals, it's feasible that ones could grow large enough to trap much larger ones, and that an unfortunate person could fall victim to such a thing. Problem with that theory is that small mammals and flies particularly are very numerous, but larger animals are not. But on the other hand a single meal for the plant could last a looong time. Perhaps such things existed in the distant past, or perhaps in the deepest parts of the jungle such they still do. I would love it if this were the case. Sadly cryptobotany seems to be approached so rarely in comparison to the more appealing zoology.

Incidentally the Ya-te-veo appears in J W Buel's "Land and Sea" and is depicted thus...

 
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rynner2

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#41
Killer plant 'eats' great tit at Somerset nursery

A plant has killed and "eaten" a great tit at a garden nursery in Somerset.
Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird.
He said he was "absolutely staggered" to find it had caught the creature.

It is believed to be only the second time such a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird anywhere in the world.
"I've got a friend who's studied these particular plants extensively in the wild and he's never found evidence of any of them having caught birds," said Mr Hewitt-Cooper.
"The other documented time was in Germany a few years ago and that was in cultivation, not in the wild.
"The larger ones frequently take frogs, lizards and mice, and the biggest ones have been found with rats in them, but to find a bird in one is pretty unusual."

The pitcher plant is a genus of Nepenthes from South East Asia which attracts and traps insects in a pool of liquid which it then digests.
Mr Hewitt-Cooper said he thought the blue tit had been attracted to the plant on Saturday by the insects and landed on its leaf.
"I think it must have leant in to pluck out an insect that was floating on the fluid inside, tipped in too far and become wedged and unable to get out."

Mr Hewitt-Cooper has been growing carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, Venus fly traps and sundews for 30 years, and has won several gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-14416809
 

McAvennie

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#42
rynner2 said:
Killer plant 'eats' great tit at Somerset nursery

A plant has killed and "eaten" a great tit at a garden nursery in Somerset.
Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird.
He said he was "absolutely staggered" to find it had caught the creature.

It is believed to be only the second time such a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird anywhere in the world.
"I've got a friend who's studied these particular plants extensively in the wild and he's never found evidence of any of them having caught birds," said Mr Hewitt-Cooper.
"The other documented time was in Germany a few years ago and that was in cultivation, not in the wild.
"The larger ones frequently take frogs, lizards and mice, and the biggest ones have been found with rats in them, but to find a bird in one is pretty unusual."

The pitcher plant is a genus of Nepenthes from South East Asia which attracts and traps insects in a pool of liquid which it then digests.
Mr Hewitt-Cooper said he thought the blue tit had been attracted to the plant on Saturday by the insects and landed on its leaf.
"I think it must have leant in to pluck out an insect that was floating on the fluid inside, tipped in too far and become wedged and unable to get out."

Mr Hewitt-Cooper has been growing carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, Venus fly traps and sundews for 30 years, and has won several gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-14416809

So the plant ate the bird in the same way that you could say a well ate a man who fell in it?
:shock: :lol:
 

rynner2

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#43
McAvennie_ said:
rynner2 said:
Killer plant 'eats' great tit at Somerset nursery

A plant has killed and "eaten" a great tit at a garden nursery in Somerset.
Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-14416809

So the plant ate the bird in the same way that you could say a well ate a man who fell in it?
:shock: :lol:
Not the same way, no. The plant will digest the bird to help its own growth, but a well gets no benefit from a man who's fallen in. ;)
 

escargot

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#44
At the weekend I bought some old books, including a couple of lovely bound editions of magazines. One has an account of a ceremonial sacrifice of a woman to a carnivorous tree in Madagascar. If anyone's interested I'll scan and post it. Sadly there's no illustration.
 

MercuryCrest

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#45
Yes, please!

I've read the rather thorough debunking (by Roy Mackal, IIRC) of the story, but it would be really nice to have the complete story for my CryptoBotany collection....

EDIT: Shuker, not Mackal!
 

oldrover

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#46
I've got this story too in a book called 'Maneaters' it's in a sort of and finally section at the end.
 

Mythopoeika

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#47
I had no idea such a plant existed:

RHS 'sheep-eating' plant about to bloom in Surrey

A South American plant with a 10ft (3m) tall flower spike is about to bloom in a Surrey glasshouse for the first time since it was planted 15 years ago.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-22967160

Mods - feel free to move or merge this - I couldn't find a suitable niche for it. Thanks.
 
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#55
The long reach of the monster plant
Carnivorous plants have fascinated writers and botanists alike. 07 February 2017

A lesser-known mystery by the creator of Sherlock Holmes concerns the fate of a man called Joe ‘Alabama’ Hawkins. Hawkins has vanished and is presumed murdered; a man is set to hang for his murder before Hawkins rolls, half-digested, from the leaf of a giant Venus flytrap.

Related stories
‘The American’s Tale’ by Arthur Conan Doyle was one of a crop of monster-plant stories that started to appear towards the end of the nineteenth century — a literary genre that climaxed decades later with The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Arguably, it started with an 1875 work of non-fiction: Insectivorous Plants by a certain Charles Darwin. Scholars of monsters in fables and literature, and there are more than you might think, point out that man-eating plants (unlike, say, vampires, werewolves, zombies and dragons) were unheard of until Darwin’s book seeded the idea in the imagination.

The flytraps of Doyle’s story were unfeasibly big, but they were also in the wrong place. Despite the name, ‘Alabama’ Hawkins met his end as flytrap mulch in the Flytrap Gulch in Montana. And, in the real world, Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) don’t grow in Montana. Native Venus flytraps, in fact, don’t grow anywhere in the wild except in boggy soil within 100 kilometres or so of Wilmington, North Carolina, on the eastern coast of the United States. That rare population is under such threat from poachers that it is now a felony to remove one of the plants: the first person to be imprisoned under the new law began his sentence last year. (The penalty used to be a US$50 fine and a slap on the wrist.)

There are many other species of carnivorous plant worldwide. And in a study released this week (K. Fukushima et al. Nature Ecol. Evol. 1, 0059; 2017), researchers describe how these meat-eating plants rely on much the same genetic recipe, even though the different groups evolved the habit of carnivory quite independently. All were after the same thing: nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that they couldn’t extract from the meagre soil. ...

http://www.nature.com/news/the-long-reach-of-the-monster-plant-1.21435
 
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#56
Shocking news.

Venus flytraps kill with chemicals like those from lightning bolts
By Richard A. Lovett Nov. 12, 2018 , 10:45 AM

PORTLAND, OREGON—Venus flytraps have a well-known way of dispatching their victims: They snare inquisitive insects that brush up against trigger hairs in their fly-trapping pods (above). But now, physicists have discovered that the triggering process may involve the release of a cascade of exotic chemicals similar to the whiff of ozone that tingles your nose after a lightning bolt.

To study this process, scientists used an electrical generator to ionize air into a “cold plasma,” which they then gently blew toward a flytrap in their lab.

Normally, the flytrap’s closure is caused by an electrical signal created when two or more trigger hairs are brushed. But highly reactive chemicals in the plasma stream such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and ozone had the same effect, even when they were blown at the pods too gently to trigger them by motion, they reported here last week at the annual Gaseous Electronics Conference. ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/201...ly_2018-11-12&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2484003
 

EnolaGaia

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#57
For archival purposes ... Here's the relevant text from that webpage.

For the most part the aforementioned are mere annoyances, but there are other things in Madagascar that can make you twitch your last.

The most notorious is the so-called man-eating tree of Madagascar. The first European description of this bulbous tree, a kind of elephantine Venus flytrap, appeared in the South Australian Register of 1881. In horrifying detail, the author tells how he watched aghast as members of the Mkodo tribe offered a woman in sacrifice to the dreaded tree, whose white, transparent leaves reminded him of the quivering mouthparts of an insect:
The slender delicate palpi, with the fury of starved serpents, quivered a moment over her head, then as if instinct with demoniac intelligence fastened upon her in sudden coils round and round her neck and arms; then while her awful screams and yet more awful laughter rose wildly to be instantly strangled down again into a gurgling moan, the tendrils one after another, like great green serpents, with brutal energy and infernal rapidity, rose, retracted themselves, and wrapped her about in fold after fold, ever tightening with cruel swiftness and savage tenacity of anacondas fastening upon their prey.​
Never fear. Despite decades of speculation, which included the 1924 book Madagascar, Land of the Man-Eating Tree, no one has ever again laid eyes on this carnivorous horror, nor on the Mkodo tribe for that matter, and today most consider the story a fabrication, if a gruesomely good one.
 

EnolaGaia

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#58
The earliest description of the ya-te-veo I can find is an 1887 compendium of natural wonders by a J. W. Buel. Here's the text of the relevant section, along with an illustration of the accompanying graphic plate and a link to the entire book (online; PDF).

A MAN-EATING PLANT

Travelers have told us of a plant, which they assert grows in Central Africa and also in South America, that is not contented with the myriad of large insects which it catches and consumes, but its voracity extends to making even humans its prey. This marvelous vegetable Minotaur is represented as having a short, thick trunk, from the top of which radiate giant spines, narrow and flexible, but of extraordinary tenaciousness, the edges of which are armed with barbs, or dagger-like teeth. Instead of growing upright, or at an inclined angle from the trunk, these spines lay their outer ends upon the ground, and so gracefully are they distributed that the trunk resembles an easy couch with green drapery around it. The unfortunate traveler, ignorant of the monstrous creation which lies in his way, and curious to examine the strange plant, or to rest himself upon its inviting stalk approaches without a suspicion of his certain doom. The moment his feet are set within the circle of the horrid spines, they rise up, like gigantic serpents, and entwine themselves about him until he is drawn upon the stump, when they speedily drive their daggers into his body and thus complete the massacre. The body is crushed until every drop of blood is squeezed out of it and becomes absorbed by the gore-loving plant, when the dry carcass is thrown out and the horrid trap set again.

A gentleman of my acquaintance, who, for a long time, resided in Central America, affirms the existence of such a plant as I have here briefly described, except that instead of the filaments, or spines, resting on the ground he says they move themselves constantly in the air, like so many huge serpents in an angry discussion, occasionally darting from side to side as if striking at an imaginary foe. When their prey comes within reach the spines reach out with wonderful sagacity (if I may be allowed to apply the expression to a vegetable creature), and grasp it in an unyielding embrace, from whence it issues only when all the substance of its body is yielded up. In its action of ex- erting pressure upon its prey, this dreadful plant resembles the instrument used in the dark ages for inflicting a torturous death. It was made of two long iron cylinders, on the inside of which were sharp, projecting pikes. The victim was placed inside, and the two cylinders then brought forcibly together, thus driving a hundred or more of the pointed pikes into all parts of his body and producing a frightful death. Generally this inquisitorial instrument was made, somewhat crudely, to represent a woman, hence the name applied to it was " The Maiden," by which it is still known.

Dr. Antonio Jose Marquez, a distinguished gentleman of the city of Barranguilla, in the United States of Colombia, in describing this wonderful plant to the author, affirms that when excited it violently agitates its long, tentacle-like stems, the edges of which., rasping upon each other, produce a hissing noise which resembles the Spanish expression, ya-te-veo, the literal translation of which is " I see you." The plant is therefore known, in South America, by the name Yateveo. He further asserts that so poisonous are the stems that if the flesh of any animal be punctured by the sharp barbs, a rapidly-eating ulcer immediately forms, for which there is no known antidote, and death speedily ensues.

It is a singular thing, and much to be deplored, if such a voracious plant exists, that we can find no description of it in the most elaborate works on botany ; and yet hundreds of responsible travelers declare they have frequently seen it, and not only watched it when in a nor- mal condition, but one African explorer declares he once witnessed the destruction of a native who was accidentally caught by one. It has also been asserted that in the Fan country of Africa, criminals and those convicted of practicing witchcraft, are sometimes fed alive to this man-eating plant. All of which, however, I am inclined to doubt ; not that there is no foundation for such statements as travelers sometimes make about this astonishing growth, but that the facts are greatly exaggerated.
661px-The_ya-te-veo.jpg

SOURCE: Buel, James William (1887). Sea and Land: An Illustrated History of the Wonderful and Curious Things of Nature existing before and since the Deluge. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Publishing Company. pp. 475–477.

BOOK AVAILABLE ONLINE AT:
https://ia801409.us.archive.org/14/items/sealandillustrat00buel/sealandillustrat00buel.pdf
 

EnolaGaia

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#59
I found this further description by Carle Liche on a similar thread to this on another website. ...
The description by a Karl Leche (spelled various ways) appeared in the newspaper New York World in 1874. This account has been republished time and again, even though no trace of Leche (under any spelling) has ever been found.

The article was reprinted around the world. Some publications cited The World; others did not. Some of them called the story a fabrication; many did not.

In August 1888, a new periodical in New York, Current Literature, blew the whistle on the man-eating-tree story. “It was written years ago by Mr. Edmund Spencer for the N.Y. World,” the magazine said, adding that he had died about 1886. “Mr. Spencer was a master of the horrible, some of his stories approaching closely to those of Poe in this regard,” it said.
That should have been that. But a curious thing happened. Nobody cared about Current Literature’s exposé, which was soon forgotten. The World’s article continued to be reprinted. Soon, even its origin in The World was forgotten; Crinoida dajeeana had taken on a life of its own.
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/...bout-a-tale-of-human-sacrifice-to-a-tree.html
 

Jim

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#60
There exist some pitcher plants which rarely eat small vertebrates (mice, frogs, etc.), although they take in primarily insects. This is the largest known carnivorous plant. Some are quite sizable growing to 6 meters in height and holding up to 2 liters of digestive fluids. I've read a bit on cyrtid maneating plants and unfortunately (or fortunately the evidence seems lacking.
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150420-the-giant-plants-that-eat-meat
 
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