6 Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

Fairy tales and myths are often filled with strange and dangerous creatures, and one of the most frightening is the human eater plant. This creepy creature supposedly grows from the body of a dead person, and it absorbs their nutrients until they die. While some believe this plant to be a figment of our imaginations, others say that it actually exists and can be found growing in dark corners all over the world.

The Evolution of Human Eater Plants & An Enigma To Humankind

Human Eater Plants that look harmless, but actually have deadly spikes. They can swallow you easily, even if you aren’t in on the dangerous secret. This can be found in jungles, which can make them even more dangerous when travelers enter their territory.

Many ancient legends tells stories about man-eating plants and trees. In reality, there are plants that can catch and eat small animals and insects, but have there been any real life carnivorous plants that can eat humans? Maybe there were prehistoric specimens after all the mega-fauna (and flora) had gone extinct.

Plants can all make their own food using the process of photosynthesis. One way to do this is by taking in carbon dioxide from the air; water from the ground; and direct sunlight. Even underground plants which grow in wetter environments like bogs or swamps, they also need access to minerals , have evolved to grow as carnivorous plants.

In response to the lack of nutrients they get from their saturated soil, these plants turned to carnivory and adopted a voracious appetite to find more nutrients. Let’s have a look of the 6 terrifying human eater plants from different myths and folklore.

1 Madagascar

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

Many unusual creatures reside on Madagascar, such as satanic leaf-tailed geckos, aye-ayes, giant jumping rats, and leaf bug nymphs. However, for many years the strangest form of life on the island was believed to be a tree that ate people who became its food supply.

It’s estimated that there are over 670 species of carnivorous plants in the world. Most people are familiar with the venus fly trap, which uses jaw-like leaves and a snapping motion to capture its prey, but carnivorous plants come in all kinds of forms and use many different methods to capture their victims, such as trapping them in pitchers or ensnaring them in slimy tentacles. 

It’s no surprise that these plants have captured the imagination of naturalists and amateur collectors alike. It’s also no surprise that their bizarre nature has inspired all kinds of legends. One of the most popular legends concerns carnivorous trees that are said to be able to devour a human being. They’ve been rumored to live in Madagascar, Central America and parts of Africa.

It sounds like something out of a 1950s science fiction story, but could they actually exist? In 1874, a biologist named Dr. Omelius Fredlowski received a letter from a German explorer named Karl Liche. In the letter, Liche recalled how he had encountered a primitive tribe in Madagascar known as the Mkodo. They had taken him deep into the jungle and led him to a strange-looking tree. He said it resembled an 8 ft tall pineapple with 6 almost transparent tentacles at the top of it. The tentacles were around 6ft tall and incredibly, they seemed to be moving as if they were the tentacles of an animal. Below the tentacles, there were 12 ft long leaves that tapered to a sharp point and were covered in strong thorny hooks.

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

Near the bottom of the plant, there were a series of long hairy tendrils that stretched in every direction. The plant emitted a sweet and seductive smell that made Liche feel drowsy. As he watched in amazement, the Mkodo brought forth a young woman and forced her to climb on to the tree. Near the top of the plant there was a small pool of sweet fluid that she was compelled into drinking. After taking a sip, she immediately seemed to fall into a kind of seizure. Liche writes: It’s a pretty amazing story but unfortunately it seems to have been a complete lie.

Of course, this wasn’t the only time that tales of a man-eating tree made the rounds. In 1887, author J.W. Buel published a book called Sea and Land, which gave an illustrated history of the flora and fauna of the Earth. It included depictions of all kinds of plants and animals, many of which were shown as being vicious and dangerous. There’s depictions of shark attacks, of boats being attacked by swordfish, and humans being killed by tigers and even elephants. But one illustration stands out above the rest. It seems to show a giant carnivorous plant much like the Madagascar tree, using its tentacles to devour a human being. The description indicates that the plant can be found in Central America and parts of Africa.

2 Nubian Tree

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

Phil Robinson compiled a book with his uncle’s experiences in Nubia, a region of northern Africa close by the Nile River, In 1881. One of the most horrific monsters found in the book was called “Nubian Tree,” which lured animals with aromatic flowers and golden fruit that looked like large drops of honey. “This awful plant that rears its splendid death-shade in the middle of a Nubian fern forest sickens by its unclean humors all vegetation near it. The plant also eats birds and other creatures that fly above it. The fascinating flower looks much like something out of a fairytale and even comes close to sucking up humans who walk within its delicate realm.”

The botanical horror used these methods to lure animals in and then killed them or used them to poison its prey through their coats so it could be harvested for sustenance. Dew wouldn’t stop from falling from the tree’s leaves continuously and created a screen of rich green grass over time as tall and sharp as swords. The tree captured prey with its sharp branches and was Indissoluble to strike by guns and knives.

3 Yate Veo Tree

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

Rumor has it that Central America is home to a deadly man-eating tree with long jagged wood spikes, who apparently grabs and impales its enemies with fast speed. Anything could be caught off-guard by these sharp thorns and the tree does not discriminate. The spikes that make up the tree often remain hidden until they are triggered by pressure upon them. Once in the victim’s grasp, it is sometimes too late to escape. The unfortunate victim is then stuck in the tree’s grip, who absorbs their blood into its trunk before it sets itself to trap another this time around.

In 1887, JW Buel’s recalled a cannibalistic tree that he had encountered in Central and South America. The trees have short, thick trunks and long branches with back edges like saw blades. The branches lay on the ground until prey approaches. Then, they seize the prey and lift them into the air before their bodies are tossed aside. Once their blood has been drained, they cast away the remains of their failed victims.

4 The Vampire Vine

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

William Thomas Stead, editor of Review of Reviews, published a brief opinion piece about a story found in Lucifer magazine. The story talks about a plant in Nicaragua called by the natives, The Devil’s Snare. It has the capability to draw out blood from any living thing that comes into contact with it. According to the opinion piece, this means that dying people will have a constantly flowing blood stream draining them of life.

Mr. Dunstan, a naturalist, traveled through Central America, where he studied the country of Nicaragua’s flora and fauna for nearly two years. He has shared with us his findings of one particular growth in one swamp near the great lakes of that country. He was out hunting for botanical and entomological specimens when he heard a pain-filled whimper from his dog and he ran to the spot from whence the sound had come from. Mr. Dunstan found him wrapped in a fine network of roots, which seemed like a snare in the shape of an intertwined tissue of fibers. The native servants accompanying Mr. Dunstan showed the indigenous population’s horror in regards to this plant, the “devil’s snare.” They recounted stories about how it uses its own barbs to kill unsuspecting animals.

With a lot of difficulty, he was able to discover very little about the nature of the plant, because its grasp can only be torn away with the loss of skin and even of flesh, but he was able to get a basic idea of how the plant worked. The plant’s suction is activated through a number of infinitesimal mouths or little suckers which are normally closed open for the reception and consumption of food. If one substance is an animal, all their blood gets drawn off and the carcass or refuse then dropped.

5 Nepenthes

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

The Nepenthes are the largest-known carnivorous plants yet discovered and their vines, growing up to 50 feet in length and also known as pitcher plants. They can be found in Southeast Asia and in the rainforest ecosystem where they hunt and trap small frogs, birds, and reptiles with their ever expanding leaves. The pitchers of this monster are typically a foot in length, and some of them can hold four quarts of liquid inside them.

The main victims of the predator plant Nepenthes includes small frogs and insects, but occasionally a rat can be found chewing on it. But at this time the giant carnivore plant is not a threat to humans, it certainly feels threatened by humans. Locals have discovered that pitchers can be cleaned and are then used for cooking rice or even tying a rope.

6 The Death Flower

Terrifying Human Eater Plants In Myths And Folklore

On a voyage led by Captain Arkwright, a plant in the South Pacific named “El Banoor” was discovered in 1581 by them. The plant was described as man-eating in the Arkwright ship’s log of this expedition. He explained that this was a large flower with glaring petals capable of delivering a sleep-inducing toxin which causes the victim to rest on the surface of these large, colorful petals. Given the limited knowledge of carnivorous flowers in this South Pacific island, Arkwright must have been witness to this process. This is the only known report of a carnivorous flower coming from this part of the world.

For an urban environment, by florist, unrecognized carnivorous plants may still be hiding in deep rainforests. With the technology to discover yet undiscovered forms of carnivorous plants hidden in any given rainforest, even remote ones, comes new possibilities for uncovering its potential. There’s a chance one of them might someday find themselves and bring it back to civilization. They could even have the voice of Levi Stubbs as they sing while they plant it in the earth – but the Little Shop of Horrors might be better left in the wild.