Let’s Celebrate: Cobra Lily

posted in: Let's celebrate | 12


Did you know that you don’t have to travel far to come face to face with hundreds of cobras? In fact, this type of cobra only lives in Northern California and Southern Oregon. These are the only cobras safe for kids to be around because this is not your ordinary cobra, this cobra is a predatory plant known as the cobra lily (Darlingtonia californica) and it loves to live in pine bog areas with nutrient poor soils that lack nitrogen. The cobra lily gets its nitrogen by eating insects.

Cobra Lily does not actively trap its prey like a flytrap does but lures its prey with sugary nectar that are on its pitcher-shaped traps. Once the insect is inside it gets disoriented from the transparent light shining on the top of the dome and often times gets tired and falls or climbs down into the tube. The tube is covered with hairs which stops the insects from climbing back out.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area is a botanical paradise. Since cobra lily roots cannot tolerate temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, this area is perfect for it because of the cool water on the ground. There are 3 other species of insectivorous plants in the area: common and lesser bladderworts, and round-leaved sundew. The best time to visit is in May, June, or July. When visiting you will want to wear covered shoes if you don’t want to get wet or dirty.

Trailhead is located off FS Road 25N47 (Bog Rd.). 3.5 miles north of the town Quincy on highway 70/89 off of Blackhawk Road. Immediately after passing the sign “Butterfly Botanical Area” you will see Fern Glen on the left.

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California Carnivores


This is the largest carnivorous plant nursery in the United States. We have been here a few times and we are always in awe of how beautiful and unique these carnivorous plants really are. Here you can purchase your very own cobra lily and ask the experts questions on how to care for your carnivorous plant.

Located at : 2833 Old Gravenstein Hwy Sebastopol, Ca 95472. They are opened Thursday through Monday from 10 am until 4 pm.


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Hands on Learning

We had so much fun identifying the cobra lily and dissecting it. We also received a white  and yellow trumpet to dissect. The cobra lily was kept inside so it did not have any insects but the yellow and white trumpets were packed with insects. Watch the video below to see our kiddos dissecting the carnivores we received from California Carnivores.


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Have you ever seen a cobra lily?

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12 Responses

  1. I have never seen one of those before but I think they look so cool! They really do look like Cobra snakes sitting their with their heads raised! What a great lesson to dissect them, I bet the kids loved that!

  2. This is so COOL!!! my kids would love something like this. It’s so great that they are enjoying the nature around them. So many kids should be out doing more of this. I’m going to have to look for a place like that around me! thanks for sharing.

  3. This is awesome!!!

  4. Beautiful photos of these plants I’ve never seen before! Great post!

  5. This looks so fun! I’ve never heard of a cobra lily but it looks pretty and interesting! I think it’s great that you have such a hands on approach to learning and teaching your kids! Looks like a fun day that will be remembered for years to come. 🙂

  6. I haven’t heard this before. But this really made me amazed.

  7. What a great nature adventure! Have you looked into Little Cottonwood’s nature pen pals? You could make one happy kid in a plant-starved part of the nation! 🙂

  8. Homegrown Adventures

    No I haven’t Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. I’ll look into it.

  9. I recently watched a video on these flowers and I find them absolutely fascinating!

  10. Shassene Ramirez

    My baby sister saw the pictures of these plants and she said, “Wow! What is that?” We are so excited to learn more about cobra lily. They look amazing!

  11. Wow! I’ve never heard of that plant before, and what a fantastic way to incorporate hands-on botany lessons into your homeschool! I was homeschooled and we never did anything so real-life 🙂 Your kids are super blessed by your obvious dedication to bring learning alive for them!

  12. Diana Faith

    What a great information! I’ve never heard about this cobra lily before. This is so cool! Wish I could see one of it and dissect it like the kids did. I enjoyed reading and watching it. Thanks!

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