Venus Flytrap

Dionaea muscipula


Description A “rosette” of four to six leaves, each with a trap on the end. A trap consists of two lobes with small trigger hairs, called trichomes, that are sensitive to the prey’s movement. The insides of the lobes contain a red pigment called anthocyanin.

Boggy, humid areas of North and South Carolina, which are generally low in nitrogen and have a high insect population.

Due to its popularity with horticulturists, it is now rare in its natural habitat and is predominantly grown in greenhouses.

Special Characteristics Since it lives in less-than-favorable soil, the Venus Flytrap supplements nitrogen from eating insects. When a sufficiently-sized insect lands on a lobe of a trap, the lobes will snap shut in less than one second. The mechanism for snapping shut is thought to be something like a neuron firing an action potential, involving signaling calcium ions. Too small prey can escape through the widely-spaced cilia (“teeth”) of the trap, as the plant would only waste energy digesting tiny prey.The lobes then invert to a convex chamber and secrete digestive enzymes to dissolve the insides of the prey. It will also produce antiseptic liquids to prevent the prey from decaying as it is digested.
Reproduction The Venus Flytrap blooms white flowers on a stalk well above the traps, as to avoid consuming pollenating insects. If grown from a seed, it will take 3 to 5 years to grow a mature plant. The Flytrap can also reproduce through leaf pullings (vegetative).

With proper care, the Venus Flytap can live up to 20 or 30 years!

There are many unique Venus Flytrap cultivars, or variations cultivated for specific genetic mutations. Some of these include the “Akai Ryu (Red Dragon)”, known for its striking deep red-pigmented, and the “Dentate” variety, with saw-like teeth. This page contains more information about the different Flytrap cultivars.

The Venus Flytrap’s evolutionary history is poorly understood, but it is thought that the Venus Flytrap evolved from another carnivorous plant called a sundew.

venus_flytrap_sxc venus_flytrap_wild
The stems without traps will form buds and then flower. Also, note the rosette arrangement of stems. A Venus Flytrap consuming a bee. Note how the cilia on the lobes prevent escape.

(Image from stock.xchange)

The Venus Flytrap in nature.

(Image from

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