by Yael Adar
On the outskirts of Hadera, at Moshav Talmei Elazar, Ada Barak, an agronomist and former landscape architect, has established a rather unique tourist attraction – a carnivorous plant nursery. But,
this isn’t a place you simply come to buy plants. Ada puts on an hour- and-half long “show” – that includes snakes and frogs jumping out of plants, detailed explanations, and video screenings about
Ada grows a number of species – including the largest of the carnivorous plants – the Nepenthes (see photo), which in the Amazon can reach tens of meters in length and can capture the largest prey, frogs and occasionally even birds. Although – here, out of its natural environment – the plant does not reach the same size as in its natural habitat, the jungle.
Carnivorous plants are plants that attract and kill various life forms (both invertebrates and vertebrates). Once the prey has been captured the plants digest and absorb the nutrients. Carnivorous plants eat a variety of prey (depending on the species), including:ants, flies, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, and mosquito larvae, to name a few.
Each type of plant seems to have developed its own unique way of capturing prey. This might include a glue-like substance, special hairs, colored orbs or even a special sweet scent.
Somehow the notion of carnivorous plants sounds ominous, but the reality is that they can’t really hurt people. Actually – as is the case with many other species – it is humans who are harming these plants, which like other non-carnivorous plants are becoming extinct and suffering at the hands of pollution and the disappearance of their natural habitat.
In addition to the carnivorous plant presentation, there is also a petting area with angora rabbits, a mink etc. After the carnivorous plant show – there is also an option (for a small extra fee) for kids to pet a variety of reptiles, including iguanas, a python and other slithery creatures.
While Ada says she doesn’t feel comfortable enough to give her presentation in English, Gems in Israel is still going to recommend this attraction – even given this limitation. On the day I visited, a group of Russian immigrants, (senior citizens by the way) were also visiting. They were there with a tour guide – who provided a simultaneous translation. They had so many questions – that the formal presentation lasted much longer than expected.
Visiting this carnivorous plant nursery can work if you visit with someone who can provide the translation. Many readers undoubtedly have family members in Israel fluent in both English and Hebrew. Like most of the other places in this issue – this is also a great place for grandparents to come with their grandchildren.
On site there is also a very informal café and if you’d like – to hold a special event such a birthday party on site – that is also an option.
Directions: Moshav Talmei Elazar is located on Route # -65 three kilometers east of Hadera (near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel).
Visiting Hours: During the week, the carnivorous plant presentation is typically only provided to groups of 15 or more. On Saturday there are two shows – at 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Individual families wishing to attend one of these shows, should call ahead for reservations.
Entry fees apply.