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220 × 145 × 20 mm
240 pages
110 illustrations, 100 in colour
10 Jun 2019

Carnivorous Plants Dan Torre

Carnivorous plants are a unique group, possessing modified leaves to trap, kill and consume small creatures. As a result they are often depicted as killers in films and literature, yet others regard them as exotic and beautiful specimens to collect and display.

In this abundantly illustrated and highly entertaining book, Dan Torre describes the evolution, structure and scientific background of carnivorous plants. He also shows how they have inspired our imagination, examining their cultural and social history, and how they have been represented in art, literature, cinema, animation and popular culture.

This fascinating history will appeal to the wide audience interested in these singular, arresting, beautiful yet deadly plants.

‘there’s no denying that carnivorous plants – diminutive as they tend to be – have made great subjects for horror stories . . . Their appearances in films, television series and books as monster plants that munch on humans as compulsively as if they were chocolates is one of the themes of a new book, Carnivorous Plants . . . Torre takes a broader approach to these green predators than the authors of most other books on the subject. He looks at how they have inspired artists, clothing designers and industrial designers . . . Torre also explores all the ways in which meat-eating plants feed our imagination. He also lays bare how the behaviour of real-life carnivorous plants is often so outlandish you couldn’t make it up.’ — The Age, Australia

‘We’re not inclined to think of plants deriving nourishment from "meat" and yet there are currently more than 700 recognised species of carnivorous plants. This book features exquisite images of many of them, along with the author’s entertaining and comprehensive information on their evolution, structure, scientific background, and social and cultural history.’ — Gardening Australia Magazine

‘The story telling is exemplary, and complex concepts are explained simply and without fuss. The combination of factual detail and entertaining cultural references works well for me. Dan Torre takes you from Ed Wood to Pokémon, from surrealistic art to synergistic relationships between bats and plants, all without missing a beat. This is one of those books that takes an already fascinating topic – animal-eating plants – and makes it even more exciting, more weird and endlessly fascinating.’ — Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive, Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria, Australia

‘It is rare to find a book that can reveal new information or provide a significantly different perspective to a topic that the reader thinks they are familiar. . . The author, in bringing up topics unfamiliar to me, inspired me to investigate topics more fully, revealing whole worlds of which I was not aware. The sign of a good non-fiction book is to provide information that the reader does not know, and allow a deeper understanding of a given topic. Carnivorous Plants by Dan Torre is one of the few books that provides sound information and interweaves various fields of knowledge that would not normally come together creating a body of work that is comprehensive. The style is easily accessible and ultimately readable and entertaining.’ — Associate Professor Randall W. Robinson, Victoria University Melbourne

Carnivorous Plants is a highly readable, informative, and entertaining natural history of carnivorous plants’ — Botany One

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Dan Torre is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Design at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He is an avid grower and collector of cacti, and author of Cactus (Reaktion, 2017).


1 The Natural History of Carnivorous Plants
2 More than Just a Meal
3 A Remarkable Discovery
4 Attack of the Killer Plants
5 Magnificent Carnivores
6 Collecting, Growing and Conserving Carnivorous Plants

Timeline of Carnivorous Plants
Further Reading
Associations and Websites
Photo Acknowledgements