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20 Fascinating Facts About Venus Flytraps
Written by Nellyin Venus Flytrap
The Venus flytrap is the best known carnivorous plant out there. It
has been featured in countless science fiction movies, series, and
books. Since its discovery, it has amazed scientists and aficionados
alike. Charles Darwin even described it as the “most wonderful
plant in the world.”
I have grown Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants in my home for several years,
and I always like learning more about them. Today, I have put together some very curious
and unique facts about these amazing plants. Even though most people have heard about
Venus flytraps, very few actually know some facts about these fascinating plants. With this
in mind, I have created a list of some curious Venus flytraps facts:
Venus Flytrap Facts
1- Venus flytrap can digest meat
Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants, not insectivorous plants. They can consume meat.
Even though it is unusual, large plants can capture small birds, rodents, or frogs. In the
wild, any animal small enough to fit inside a trap can be a potential victim. For example,
mature traps surpass a length of one inch and dozens of tiny frog species can fit in that
The digestion process for Venus flytraps is very slow. They take several days or even
weeks to digest a single bug. When this plant attempt to digest more complex organism,
such as frogs, the digestion process is more challenging. The plant will have the capacity
to break up the soft parts of the victim but will leave the skeleton behind.
2Red Venus flytraps exist, and they are beautiful
Red Venus flytraps are known as Akai Ryu, which means “Red
Dragon” in Japanese. This Venus flytrap variation has a unique
color. The inside and outside of the leaves are maroon or purplishred.
Akai Ryu is a Venus flytrap cultivar. Which means, this variation of Venus flytraps does not
grow in the wild, humans have developed it.
“Through breeding efforts in the support greenhouses of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, a
new all red form of the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) has been created.” (Ron
Gagliardo, A New Cultivar of Dionaea muscipula Ellis, Carnivorous Plant Newsletter)
Photo by: Blue Ridge Exotics
3- Venus flytraps are native to North Carolina and South
Some might imagine Venus flytraps growing in tropical jungles or
savannahs. But, Venus flytraps are only native to two states in the
United States: South Carolina and North Carolina. There, these
plants grow with an abundance of sunlight in very humid and
nutrient-free terrain. Also, Venus flytraps are resilient plants, in the
Carolinas they can withstand hot summers that commonly surpass
90 F and temperatures below freezing in the winter. Besides, these
plants require a temperature change through the seasons. During
the winter, they experience dormancy through the cold season and
they reflourish in the spring.
4- The most common meal for Venus flytraps is NOT
Venus flytraps eat several different types of insects and arachnids. They consume, for
example, crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, slugs, ants, worms, and of
course, flies. As long as the bug is small enough to fit in a trap, the Venus flytrap will most
likely be able to capture it.
The popular belief that Venus flytraps are solely designed to capture flies is incorrect.
Actually, in the wild, Venus flytraps not only enjoy a varied diet, but their main victims are
usually ants and crawling insects.
5- Venus flytraps are an endangered species
A few years ago, the Venus flytrap was added to the endangered species list. Their original
habitat has been changing due to an increase in urbanization and agricultural
development. Also, the presence of poachers has reduced the plant population living in the
wild. Poachers extract Venus flytraps from their habitat and sell them for profit.
If you ever encounter a Venus flytrap outdoors, do not attempt to
remove it. Also, if you are planning to buy one, make sure you are
buying from a responsible nursery or vendor. We must all wok
together in preserving this fascinating specie of carnivorous plants.
6- North Carolina selected the Venus flytrap as its state
carnivorous plant
North Carolina is the first and only state in the United States to select a state carnivorous
plant. Since 2005, their state carnivorous plant is the Venus flytrap. This initiative aims to
promote the conservation of the species.
Also, since 2014 poaching Venus flytraps have evolved to been
considered a misdemeanor to a felony in the state of North
Carolina. It is a serious crime to harm the species.
7- Venus flytraps produce flowers
Venus fly trap flower
Most people have heard about the Venus flytrap and are familiar with the traps. Yet, very
few are aware that Venus flytraps grow flowers. The traps in Venus flytraps are not
flowers, they are simply modified leaves that evolve to capture bugs.
During spring, Venus flytraps produce several flower stalks. The flower stalks grow to
become flower bunches.
The flowers are white, and they have green veins running through the petals. The flowers
are not very impressive. Still, Venus flytrap growers can fertilize them and harvest seeds.
8Venus flytrap do not consume bug pollinators
Venus flytrap employs a smart mechanism to avoid consuming
pollinators. Venus flytrap flowers grow over their traps. As shown
in the picture below, the leaves extend only a few inches above
the ground, but the flowers grow a lot higher. Venus flytraps
evolved to keep prey and pollinators at two different levels.
“Of the roughly 100 different species that visited the plants, only a few were effective
pollinators. These included green sweat bees, checkered beetles, and notch-tipped flower
longhorn beetles, all of which were found on the plants but not in their traps.” Venus
Flytraps Have Surprising Pollinators … and They Don’t Eat Them, Elaina Zachos, National
Venus flytrap leaves and flower stalks
9- Several dozen of Venus flytrap variations exist
Scientists and experience carnivorous plant growers have
experimented with Venus flytraps for decades. At this time, they
have created dozens of different variations of Venus flytraps. The
Akai Ryu variation explained above is not the only one. Here are
some famous Venus flytrap cultivars:
• Dionaea Green Dragon: These plants look very similar to the red
Venus flytrap. but they are not completely red. The edges of the
lobes exhibit a bright green color.
• Dionaea Sawtooth: This Venus flytrap exhibits short cilia in the
traps. The cilia is usually compared to a saw or shark teeth.
• Dionaea Gremlin: This variation is a completely green Venus
flytrap. There are no signs of red coloring inside the lobes.
• Dionaea Ginormous: This cultivar is one of the largest Venus
flytrap specimens. The traps can surpass the two inches long.
• B-52 Giant Venus flytrap: Another large specimen of Venus
This variations, do not grow in the wild, they have been produced in a controlled environment
and can be sold commercially for recreational purposes. I personally own the B-52 Venus
flytrap clone. In overall dimensions the plant is still not huge. But the traps are massive
compared to standard Venus flytraps.
10- Venus flytraps choose their prey carefully
The process of catching and digesting prey takes significant amounts of energy from the
plant. Therefore, Venus flytraps must choose victims carefully before starting the process.
First, the plant must verify it has caught live prey. Venus flytraps detect motion through trigger
hairs inside their traps. If the plant can’t detect movement after it has caught prey, it will
reopen. A leaf, stick, or any other inanimate object could have activated the trapping
Also, Venus flytraps test the size of the prey they caught before
they consume it. When the trap closes, it doesn’t do it in one single
stage [1]. First, it goes into a semi-close stage. If the victim is a
tiny insect, it will be able to scape at this moment. During the
second stage, the trap will close shut and start the digestion
“Among carnivorous plants, the Venus flytrap is of particular interest for the rapid
movement of its snap-traps and hypothesized prey selection, where small prey are
allowed to escape from the traps (…) ” Understanding the Venus flytrap through
mathematical modelling, Sami Lehtinen
11- The prey trapped inside a Venus flytrap dies by
Venus flytraps need plenty of water, tons of light, and nutrient-free
soil to live. Building a good environment to grow Venus flytraps
indoors in reasonably easy. The only element that could be a
challenge indoors is lighting. Venus flytraps require 4-12 hours of
light a day.
It is not rare that homes or apartments lack a spot with good sunlight. Yet, there is an easy
fix. You can buy a high output fluorescent plant light. Even without any windows, you can
grow Venus flytraps indoors, thanks to artificial lighting.
13- Venus flytraps lure prey with sweet nectar and bright
Nectar secreting glands inside the traps produce sweet nectar to
attract prey. Insects are attracted to the nectar and the bright red
color inside the traps. Bugs get confused and believe the red
interior of the trap and the nectar scents are the clear signs of a
and crawling mechanisms are commonly attracted by Venus flytraps. However, the
plant has a better success rate with crawling insects that walk inside the trap consuming the
14- Tap water is poison for Venus flytraps
In the wild, Venus flytraps live in a nutrient-free environment. These plants have evolved to
survive without substantial nutrients from water or the soil. As a result, they can’t handle
nutrients in the ground or water.
Venus flytrap owners can’t water their plant with tap water. Tap water has minerals and added
elements. Instead, they can use distilled water, reverse osmosis water, or rainwater. Bottled
water is also unsuitable for carnivorous plants, as it contains minerals for flavor.
You can learn more information about the plant watering
requirements and other care considerations by reading this article:
Venus Flytrap Care Guid
. The content is very useful for prospective Venus flytrap owners
and novice growers.
15- Venus flytraps do not need bugs to survive
One unique characteristic of plants is that they can produce their own food. They make
their food through photosynthesis. And, the Venus flytrap is not an exception.
During photosynthesis, plants utilize sunlight to synthesize food from carbon and water.
Venus flytraps catch bugs with their traps and digest them with enzymes, but they
consume insects as a supplement to their diet (due to the lack of nutrients in their habitat).
Venus flytraps live thanks to photosynthesis. Yet, the Venus flytrap’s habitat lacks
nutrients. Without crucial nutrients in the soil, their diet is not balanced. Venus flytraps
consume bugs to extract elements such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. These
elements supplement their diet. Still, photosynthesis produces its source of fuel. Venus
flytraps can survive without bugs. Yet, the plant won’t thrive without catching an occasional
You can find a more in-depth explanation about the feeding requirement and effects in
There are several different types of carnivorous plants, such as
pitcher plants, sticky leaf plants, and snap traps. The snap trap
mechanism is a living proof of successful evolution.
The environment where Venus flytraps grow is very poor in nutrients. Very few plants are
able to survive in that environment. The Venus flytrap was able to thrive in such a habitat
thanks to becoming a successful predator. Here are a few interesting details about the
Double stimuli mechanism: The lobes in each trap contain
trigger hairs. The trap only closes if the hairs receive stimuli
twice within a short period. The dual stimuli mechanism
prevents the plant from closing due to rain, dust, leaves, or
any inanimate object.
The trap can reopen: When the plant has capture prey, the
leaves do not close airtight right away. First, they go into a
semi-closed state. The plant needs to confirm it has caught
live prey before it starts digestion.
The traps close fast: The trapping mechanism of Venus
flytraps is one of the fastest movements observed in the plant
kingdom. At a resting stage, the lobes within the trap are in a
convex position. After appropriate stimuli, they flip to a
concave position. This method allows the plant to close its
traps in a fast and decisive manner.
17- Fertilizers are gold for most plants, but they weaken
Venus flytraps
Fertilizing is a must for most plants. But, Venus flytraps are a curious exception. Venus
flytraps struggle synthesizing minerals and nutrients from the environment. Fertilizing a
Venus flytrap can end up killing, especially if applied to a young plant or a seedling.
Expert carnivorous plant growers can experiment with weak foliar fertilizers. But amateur
growers stay away from fertilizers at all time. Feeding bugs to a Venus flytrap is analogous
to fertilizing. So, most people just focus on feeding the plant rather then fertilizers.
18- Venus flytraps can control the bug populations
One of the big pros of owning a Venus flytrap and placing it in your home is that it can help
you control the bug population. Depending on the size of the plant, Venus flytrap can
consume small insects such as gnats and ant, att the way to crickets and caterpillars.
A single Venus flytrap can not help you exterminate a plague at home. But will definitely
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