I still remember the purchase of my first carnivorous plant. It was in the unlikely surroundings of Chatham Dockyard and perhaps more surprisingly it wasn't a Venus Fly Trap! Instead, I became the very proud owner of a Sarracenia flava - or a North American pitcher plant. At the time I did not even know of the existence of these plants, and had probably assumed that it was only Venus Fly Traps that actually caught and consumed insects.
Left: happy in its new home, Nepenthes veitchii x maxima produces its first mature pitcher for years!
I think that it was the unique appearance of this plant - an elegantly tapering funnel with a flared mouth and projecting lid - that fascinated me the most. The fact that the plant would happily feast upon any flies that were foolish enough to attempt to crawl around this funnel of doom seemed to be almost incidental. Whatever the initial attraction, this was the plant that 25 years ago began my love affair with this most intriguing group of plants - those that turn the tables on the animal kingdom and pursue a carnivorous diet.