The Muerte Vine was a carnivorous plant that was used to dispose of victims of several organized crime rings. It could apparently consume all remains of a human being, including bones and hair given enough time, leaving only occasional scraps of clothing and other non-organic accessories as evidence.
The three Muerte Vines were brought from the Amazon by the Vine Lady and her unnamed husband at the behest of Mr. Crime. Alpha thought that the carnivorous plant was a perfect way to dispose of evidence of crimes.
One of the first known victims of the Muerte Vine was Judge Lava, a jurist and a city philanthropist. Mr. Crime had Lava killed so he could take over Lava's Boys Club and use it as a secret hideout for his crime syndicate. Mr. Crime also arranged for his accomplice Judge Rulings to take over Lava's position.
After a failed assassination attempt on Dick Tracy's life, Mr. Crime decided to drive to the hideaway where the Muerte Vine was stored and ordered the Vine Lady to destroy the skeleton of Judge Lava (which was still trapped in a Muerte Vine). Tracy found the remains of Judge Lava, and the Vine Lady was arrested as a accessory to Lava's murder.
After the vine was taken into possession by the police, it was placed in the botanical garden of the local zoo.
The New Mr. Crime
The Vine Lady was eventually freed from prison and joined the organization of the second Mr. Crime. She provided him with Muerte Vines in much the same way as she had the original Mr. Crime. When the new Mr. Crime's headquarters was being raided, the corrupt Lt. Teevo of the Police Department arrived and fell victim to a Muerte Vine. The only evidence left of him was his necktie.
- In the original story of Mr. Crime, the Vine Lady's husband "disappears" after threatening Mr. Crime, but he was apparently not eaten by the plant.
- It was not consistently depicted how long it took the Muerte Vine to devour victims. Remains of Judge Lava were still found in the vine years after his disappearance, but Lt. Teevo was apparently completely devoured in a matter of days (possibly only hours).
- In one episode of TV comedy Get Smart, the bumbling spy Maxwell Smart is almost devoured by a man-eating plant.