The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a carnivorous plant with insect-eating leaves. This is a survival mechanism designed to cope with the plant's wild habitat, where the soil is usually of poor quality. There is more to the Venus flytrap than just its traps, and each part plays a role in the plant's growth and reproduction.
Traps what the Venus flytrap is best known for. Each is formed from a single leaf made up of two convex lobes joined together with a flexible rib. Very sensitive trigger hairs line these lobes. When an insect lands on the leaf, the lobes snap together, becoming concave and locking along the edges to trap the insect inside. What propels this movement is currently unknown.
Glands line the inside of the traps. They secrete enzymes that dissolve and digest any trapped organic material. As the trapped insect is digested, the nutrient-rich liquid is reabsorbed into the plant through the leaves. It typically takes one to two weeks to digest an insect, after which the trap reopens to capture a new unwary prey.
Venus flytraps grow from an underground rhizome out of which fine roots sprout to anchor the plant into its substrate material. In the wild, this soil is typically nutrient deficient, hence the plant's development of insect capturing mechanisms. Roots tend to spread in a shallow, horizontal manner instead of deep and vertical. If you're growing the carnivorous plants, frequent shallow watering is preferred to sporadic deep watering.
Traditional, non-trap leaves grow in an outward pattern from the plant's base. Each red or green leaf emerges on its own stem, directly connected to the base. The average plant has four to seven leaves.
In the spring, the Venus flytrap may send up a bundle of white flowers on the tip of a green stalk that appears in the middle of the plant clump. If there are several Venus flytraps in the area, these flowers may develop into a profusion of shiny black seeds. Most gardeners cut off the flowers before they bloom to conserve the plant's energy. If the Venus flytrap is allowed to bloom, it will usually not have enough energy to grow more traps.