Carnivorous plants

Northern California and Southern Oregon are home to an unusual carnivorous plant – Darlingtonia Californica.

No, it’s not like the huge plant that eats humans in “Little Shop of Horrors.” It’s more like a plant that is able to trap insects and digest them.

The plants are actually too small to eat humans. In fact, the plants are fragile and susceptible to damage by humans.

However, in the Six Rivers National Forest, there is a place to see these plants up close. The location is accessible by a short, 0.3 mile loop trail east of Gasquet on Highway 199. Watch for the signs near milepost 17.9. A short paved road leads to the trailhead.

Once there, grab a brochure from the rack at the trailhead then take a short walk to a bog to view a large community of Darlingtonia, also known as California pitcher plants or cobra lilies. A graveled path and two wooden viewing platforms provide good wheelchair access to this unique site. Return on the loop trail to the parking area.

The plants, also called a cobra lily because of its resemblance to a cobra about to strike, has a trapping mechanism similar to the Sarracenia.  However in the case of Darlingtonia the plant incorporates a 180-degree twist within the stem, so the mouth of the pitcher always faces away from the center of the plant.

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