The Venus flytrap is mysterious and fascinating carnivorous plant. It is a bog native and has adapted to soil that is deficient in nutrients by supplementing its diet with insects. With a little care, this plant can be kept indoors.
Though carnivorous plants can be found all over the world, the Venus flytrap is native only to a small area of North and South Carolina. It has become endangered because of over-collection in the wild. It is now bred in greenhouses.
The leaves of the Venus flytrap are edged with short stiff hairs. Touching the hairs triggers the plant to shut its leaves, trapping insects inside. It takes less than a second for the trap to close. If the object it traps is not food, the plant reopens in about 12 hours and ejects it.
Trapping an Insect
Once an insect is trapped, the leaves form an air-tight seal. This prevents bacterial growth. Too large an insect will stick out of the trap and eventually rot, causing the trap's leaves to fall off.
The Venus flytrap releases digestive juices to dissolve the soft parts of insects. When digestion is complete in five to 12 days, the trap reopens and the undissolved insect exoskeleton blows away or is washed off.
A Venus flytrap grown indoors needs to be fed a few insects each month. Never feed it hamburger because it can cause the plant to rot.
- Botanical Society of America
- Carnivorous Plants All Bark, No Bite
Venus flytrap, carnivorous plant, endangered species
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.