Featured Venus Flytraps
Flytraps are native to coastal regions of North and South
Carolina. They do not grow anywhere else in the world unless
introduced by man. Sometimes mistaken for tropical plants, they
are actually a hardy perennial, and will experience frosts each
year. Venus Flytraps are monotypical, meaning that it is the
only species of it's genus. Some plants will display different
or odd characteristics, and many have been developed and cloned
to produce uniform plants with consistent traits. Some forms
such as 'dente', and 'fine tooth' have shorter trap bars lending
a menacing appearance. Others such as 'akai ryu', or other red
varieties like 'royal red' or 'regal red' will develop deep red
color over the entire plant. These types of 'mutant' VFT are
registered as 'cultivars' with the International Carnivorous
Plant Society, to ensure that the genetics stay true and can be
Flytraps grow, they will push new leaves up from the center of
the plant. The first leaves that appear in the spring will be
short and broad, compared to the longer thinner summer leaves.
Older leaves will turn black from the trap down, and may brown
along the edges before turning black. This is normal, and
blackened growth can be trimmed away. Contrary to what seems to
be a popular belief, Never ever feed a VFT meat or anything high
in protien, it will burn the leaf and can eventually rot,
exposing the rest of the plant to fungus. In fact, never feed
them anything that isn't an insect. It is best to let them fend
for themselves, but the occasional force feeding of an unlucky
insect is OK.
can eat insects, they are also sometimes eaten by insects
themselves. Pests like grasshoppers or caterpillars can devour
entire leaves or more, but I have rarely had such problems with
them. The most common pest is aphids, and usually more so is the
spring. The easiest way to eradicate your VFT of any pests, is
to submerge the Entire plant in distilled water or rain water
for 24-36 hours. Just fill a gallon bucket, or any container
deep enough, and gently help your plant sink to the bottom.
Anything infesting the plant will drown, and the VFT won't mind
taking the dip at all.
How do they
work? On the inner lobes of the trap, there are 3 tiny 'trigger'
hairs. When one of these hairs is touched twice, or two seperate
hairs are touched, the trap will close. When the unlucky insect
is first trapped, it's struggling will only to tell the traps to
close tighter, until it seals and fills with digestive fluid. It
can sometimes take more stimulation for the response, and other
factors can also trigger traps to close. VFT's that are kept in
very humid conditions, when brought into lower humidity, will
sometimes close All of their traps in protest. Excess handling
of the trap leaves can sometimes trigger closure even though no
trigger hairs have been touched.
carnivorous plants have trapping methods that are active, and
some use methods that are passive. Venus Flytraps are definitely
active. It is still a matter of debate as to what happens in the
plant to make it an 'active trap'. It has been said that it is
similar to electrical responses in nerve systems found in
animals, and some scientists feel that stimulation of the
trigger hairs causes an 'explosive' cell growth at the trap's
fold, causing it to close. Lab experiments have shown that
electricity alone can trigger traps to close. One thing that is
clearly understood- they Do indeed digest their prey. If a trap
has captured a suitable meal, it will usually take 5-10 days to
open back up, exposing the undigestible parts of the insect.
After that, it can catch another meal. Some traps will have
remnants from several kills before they blacken and wilt.