Of the over 620 species and subspecies of carnivorous plants currently recognised in the world, New Zealand has but relatively few. Although many of our native carnivores are small in stature they are both beautiful and deadly; masters of their boggy realm.
Carnivorous plants occur on every continent throughout the world except Antarctica. They live in almost every conceivable environment except deserts and saline environments. They are plants of fresh-water habitats that are wet for at least part of the year and where the soils are low in nutrients and often acidic. Their carnivorous nature offsets the lack of nutrients available in the poor soils of their habitats and allows them to grow where other plants cannot. Their carnivorous processes also require a high light level in order to function properly so they are commonly found in open places such as bogs, lakes and various other types of barren land.
New Zealand's Carnivorous Plants -
Of the 16 genera of carnivorous plants found worldwide, New Zealand only has representatives from two and they are also the two most common genera. From these two genera there are 12 species in total thought to be native. They are Drosera, or the sundews, with 7 species and Utricularia, or the bladderworts, with 5 species. This paucity of carnivorous plants is probably due to New Zealand's long period of geological isolation.
New Zealand's carnivorous plants live in a wide range of habitats including coastal bogs, clay banks, roadside drains, seepages, peatlands, lakes, and alpine cushion bogs high in the mountains from the tip of the North Island southwards to our subantarctic islands and eastwards to the Chatham Islands.