Information About Venus Fly Traps

Overview

The Venus fly trap is known scientifically as Dionaea muscipula. It is a small, meat-eating plant that is part of the sundew family (also known as Droseraceae). Venus fly traps are wetland, herbaceous plants that are notable for their trapping and digesting of animal prey, such as arachnids and insects.

Function

The Venus fly trap has hinged traps that are similar to clam shells. The traps spring close in order to trap insects or spiders. Small hairs on the inner surfaces of the leaves activate the plant's trapping mechanism. When either a spider or an insect is on the surface of a leaf, and comes into contact with a hair, the trap then quickly closes.

Characteristics

Venus fly traps grow out of white, fleshy rhizomes that make way for leaf rosettes (between 4 and 6 inches in length). The rosettes have between four and seven leaves. Every leaf has a broad stem and blade. The lining of the trap is maroon, light yellow or green.

Cultivation

Venus fly traps thrive in either full sun or partial sun. Venus fly traps that are grown in containers require bright lighting. Their substrate must be moist. The plants can handle short periods of flooding. They can be cultivated in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plant hardiness zones of 6 to 8.

Habitat

Venus fly traps generally appear in environments that do not have sufficient nitrogen, such as wet savannas, bogs and swamplands. Venus fly traps tolerate fire well. They require occasional burning in order to maintain their habitats. They also often exist on roadsides that are permanently wet and sandy.

Varieties

Venus fly traps are by far the most well-known meat-eating plants in existence. They are commonly sold as ornamental houseplants and are often available at markets and florists. Some popular varieties of Venus fly traps include the fused tooth, Bohemian garnet, wacky traps, green dragon, cupped trap and royal red.

Keywords: venus fly traps, carnivorous plants, Dionaea muscipula

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.