On the Spot: Anna Mische John

Bloody Butcher Corn. Rattlesnake Master. Voodoo Lily. These aren’t the names of zombie characters in some new video game — they’re plants. The U.S. Botanic Garden’s “Savage Garden” exhibit includes these threatening-sounding specimens along with some legitimately carnivorous plants. Horticulturist Anna Mische John carefully stepped away from her potentially man-eating leafy charges to describe the show.

What’s cool about carnivorous plants?
These plants lure, trap, kill and digest their own prey, and what’s unique is they do all these things at the same time.

What’s the best way to check out the flesh-eating plants?
On Thursdays at 1 p.m., we have a public program and you can watch the Venus flytrap plants eating bugs.

Have you seen “Little Shop of Horrors”? Is it like that?
Yes. This exhibit is like the real “Little Shop of Horrors,” but without the singing.

Do carnivorous plants grow naturally in the U.S.? Should we be concerned?
Venus flytraps grow in northern and southern coastal North Carolina. That’s the only place they grow in the world.

Which plant on display is the meanest?
The tropical variety of the pitcher plant can eat small amphibians and mammals like frogs and mice. Once anything gets in there, it’s pretty much toast.

United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW; through Oct. 8, free; 202-225-8333. (Capitol South)

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