Venus Flytraps (Dionaea)

Venus Flytraps (Dionaea muscipula)

Venus Flytraps, or Dionaea muscipula, are one of the most well-known carnivorous plants. They employ a snap trap mechanism to catch prey. Traps form at the end of the leaves which divide into two lobes, hinging at the center.

The inner surfaces of traps are equipped with tiny hairs that trigger a trap to snap shut when touched. When a bug is trapped, the victim’s efforts to escape continue to stimulate the trigger hairs causing the trap to fully seal, forming a “stomach”. After sealing shut, the trap secretes digestive enzymes that break down the bug into usable nutrients.

It may come as a surprise that Venus Flytraps are not jungle plants. These strange carnivorous plants are native only to a small wetland area on the coast of North and South Carolina. Sadly, these wild populations are now threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Efforts have been made to naturalize colonies in New Jersey, California, and Florida with some success though.