Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

August 2023
Written By: 
Grand Strand Magazine Staff
Photographs by: 
courtesy of shutterstock

- Fires in wetlands may seem counterproductive, but they are essential for Venus flytraps' success. This sun-loving plant benefits from fires that burn away parts of trees and shrubs, allowing photosynthesis and reproduction to take place.

- Long cilia grab and hold the insect in place, much like fingers, as the plant begins to secrete digestive juices. The insect is digested slowly over the next several days, after which the trap reopens, releasing the dried-out husk of the insect into the wind.

- The Venus flytrap, native to wetlands in North and South Carolina, was recently recognized as South Carolina’s official state carnivorous plant. Legislators voted in May to honor the alluringly pretty, flowering meat-eater, which takes its place alongside other state plants, such as the Yellow Jessamine and Goldenrod. Its “trap” is made of two hinged lobes at the end of each leaf. On the inner surfaces are sensitive, hair-like projections that cause the lobes to snap shut when prey comes in contact with them. To prevent the plant from wasting energy if prey isn’t actually there, the trap will only shut when its “hairs” are touched multiple times.

- The Venus Flytrap emits a pleasing, fruity scent to draw in its prey, which include insects and spiders, even grasshoppers. These plants will clamp its leaves shut only after trigger hairs are tripped two times within about 20 seconds, exhibiting an amazing ability to “count.”

- The plant is globally imperiled because of poaching, loss of habitat, fire suppression, wetland drainage, and seed collection. Horry County is known to have the only remaining population of the Venus flytrap in the State of South Carolina.