Darlingtonia State Natural Site offers a unique opportunity to see a large patch of the carnivorous Darlingtonia californica, also known as cobra orchid or pitcher plant, in its native boggy habitat. A short elevated wooden walkway and a nice interpretive sign offer the perfect vantage point for viewing this botanical oddity. Darlingtonia californica is native to Northern California and Oregon.
The Cobra Orchid traps insects inside its hollow leaves with downward pointing hair, lubricating secretions, and an ingeniously disguised entrance and exit hole. The translucent leaves give the appearance of many false exits through which trapped insects try in vain to escape. Eventually they tire and fall into the trap where they are prevented from climbing out by the downward pointing hairs. In time they expire and become digested by the plant, which uses its prey to supplement its nitrogen requirements.