Discovering Florida’s Carnivorous Plants with Kenny Coogan and Manny Herrera

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Today’s guest was long time grower Manny Herrera. Florida has dozens of native species of carnivorous plants––more than any other state in the United States—including sundews, butterworts, bladderworts, and pitcher plants. These plants use appealing scents, leaves, and sticky fluids to trap and imprison insects. Digestive fluids then absorb the prey giving the plant its nutrients. Many of these plants can be grown at home in the backyard, in rain gardens, or in some cases on the windowsill.

Our own Kenny Coogan, who happens to be the Education Director of the International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS), also helped answer questions today. 

The ICPS is group of gardeners, conservationists, scientists and educators all interested in sharing knowledge and news of carnivorous plants. They welcome hobbyists just getting started all the way through professional scientists to join the society. More info can be found on their website carnivorousplants.org.

World Carnivorous Plant Day was first brought to the attention to the ICPS Board of Directors in 2020 by Krzysztof Banaś of Poland. Krzysztof envisioned a day that brought carnivorous plants into the spotlight of public awareness and education. World Carnivorous Plant Day, is held on the first Wednesday of May each year (they don’t want to conflict with world naked gardening day which is the first Saturday in May). Each year, the ICPS will be hosting a number of online events, including a photo contest. WCPD is a publicly-accessible web-based conference which can be found on the ICPS Facebook and Youtube channel.

Kenny wrote 5 animated videos for the societies YouTube channel to help beginners, like these two:

Kenny’s third book will come out this summer, titled Florida’s Carnivorous Plants. In the book you will learn about Florida’s endemic carnivorous plants. The book is written for the budding naturalist and hobbyist.

Florida’s Carnivorous Plants provides an identification and growing guide for the major genera of carnivorous plants found in Florida. Each species description includes etymology, a history of the plant’s discovery highlighting diverse scientists, anatomy, habitat range, and popular cultivars for beginners. Tables include soil requirements, types of potting, water level, amount of light, dormancy and temperature requirements, and propagation tips. A glossary provides readers with the tools to learn botanical jargon to improve their identification skills. WMNF listeners can get 30% off the book now through May 31, 2022 using the coupon code FLCP30 at rowman.com.