In Insectivorous Plants, Darwin (1900) made reference numerous times to the pollen grains, leaf fragments, and seeds found on the sticky leaves of sundews and butterworts (Pinguicula).
In the conclusion of Insectivorous Plants, Darwin put carnivory in the larger context of the methods by which plants obtain resources.
Reviews of Darwin's book and discussions of insectivorous plants in the popular press throughout the 1870s and 1880s almost with out exception emphasize the sundew's animal-like behavior.
Another trio of botany books, The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants (1875), Insectivorous Plants (1875), and The Power of Movement in Plants (1880), blurred the seemingly firm bounda ry between plants and animals by arguing that the most commonly invoked reasons for separating the two--that plants are not mobile and lack digestive and nervous systems--were invalid or uncertain.
Although Insectivorous Plants was not published until 1875, Darwin communicated the results of his ongoing work to other researchers and allowed them to publicize it.
Much of the popular attention went to the sundew, for the sundew was the star of Insectivorous Plants.
Descriptions of insectivorous plants commonly employed the language of crime, imprisonment, and torture and were frequently accompanied by literary allusions to Gothic tales.
Responses to Darwin's work on insectivorous plants often took up the same issues that Swinburne's poem raised.
Noting that Darwin's catalogue of the "many perfidious contrivances" of insectivorous plants would create in readers "an impression of the cruelty of Nature," Hopkins nonetheless suggested that Darwinism itself enables us to see in the destruction of insects by sundews and Venus' fly-traps "some faint shadowing forth of the great law of sacrifice, which Christianity reveals as the very life of God, and the realizing of which is the highest life of man.