Plants that Eat Meat in the Gros Morne National Park

The flesh eating pitcher plant, provincial floral emlem of Newfoundland and Labrador

Gros Morne National Park is dominated by two distinctly different landscapes, a coastal lowland bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the alpine plateau of the Long Range Mountains. These provide habitats for an array of flora and fauna: flowering plants, lichens, mammals, fish and birds.

This vast array of life consists of a unique mixture of temperate, boreal, and Arctic species.

While walking the Tablelands with Kevin Barnes from Parks Canada as our guide we found not one, but three carnivorous plants growing next to one another.

The first and perhaps largest is the Pitcher Plant. Their jug shaped leaves are very distinctive and are usually half filled with water. The flaring lips of the jug or pitcher are lined with downward pointing hairs that help capture insects. The pitchers also provide a home to some insect larvae whose excrements help feed the plant. So much is it a part of the landscape, that the meat eating flower has been adopted as the floral emblem of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Butterwort whose leaves are rolled in at the edges to form a basal rosette are the second flesh eating plant we found. The sticky leaf surface captures insects, which are then used for pan of the nutrient requirement of the plant.

The red coloured Sundew plant was the third such find. Its leaves are covered with reddish gland-bearing hairs that exude a sticky juice for capturing insects.

These three carnivorous plants have not only developed strategies to get nutrients in an ecologically impoverished environment but they also tolerate the toxic geology of the Tablelands which keeps a lot of competing species of plants away from them.

We are grateful to Destination Canada, Air Canada and ship operators One Ocean Expeditions for kindly hosting us on this trip