Venus Fly Trap Facts
image by Justin G. Coleman, Justin G. Coleman
As popular as it is unique, the Venus fly trap is a carnivorous plant that captures and digests small insects. Venus fly traps are quickly dwindling from the wild and are protected by numerous conservation laws in the United States.
Venus fly traps capture insects with specially adapted leaves.
Venus fly traps grow two distinct lobes on every leaf tip that clamp shut when disturbed, trapping unsuspecting insects within. Digestive fluids then fill the chamber, dissolving victims into usable nutrients.
Venus fly traps produce small clusters of green leaves roughly 3 to 5 inches long, broadening toward the leaf tips. Tiny white flowers, usually 1 inch in diameter, are occasionally produced.
Swamps are an ideal home for Venus fly traps, as the soil there is low in nitrogen and unsuitable for most other plants. The Venus fly trap thrives in these conditions by supplementing its diet with nitrogen drawn from digested bugs.
Because the Venus fly trap divides and renews itself regularly, a specimen can live for many decades. Replicating proper conditions for growth is difficult, though, and most captive fly traps usually die within a year or two.
Venus fly traps, native only to the United States, have a remarkably small range due to environmental pressures posed by encroaching humans. As of 2009, only about 60 square miles of natural habitat remain in North and South Carolina.
Although wild Venus fly traps gain a competitive edge over other plants by eating insects, captive specimens kept at home will grow successfully without ever using this adaptation.
- Botanical Society of America: Venus flytrap
- The Carnivorous Plant FAQ
carnivorous plant, Venus fly trap, insect eating plants
About this Author
Justin Coleman is a freelance writer based in Connecticut. Since 2007, he has covered a variety of topics, including biology and computers, amongst others. Coleman is currently a freelance nature and technology writer and wildlife photographer. When not working, Coleman tirelessly explores new areas of nature, history, philosophy, comparative religion, technology and sociology.
Justin G. Coleman, Justin G. Coleman