Venus Fly Trap


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Dionaea muscipla - This is a well-known plant that is native to North and South Carolina. They grow to about 5 inches in diameter and have around 5-6 stems with hinged leaves. The edges of the leaves are lined with "teeth" and fit together like a clam shell. Flytraps lure insects by secreting a sweet nectar from its leaves. Sensory hairs on the inside of the petals count the movements from the insect. There must be at least two movements in 20 seconds, otherwise the leaves wont snap shut. This cleverly prevents it from trapping debris, as it wouldn't make a good meal. The third movement initiates the digestive juices that break down the insect. When the flytrap's mouth is closed, it is sealed air tight, keeping out any bacteria. After 5-12 days, the mouth will re-open, ready to catch another. It is estimated that this species can live up to 20 years or longer. Unfortunately, this fascinating plant has been extensively harvested from the wild, even to extinction in some areas. Each plant is sold for as little as 10p on the black market. Habitat destruction has also been a major contributing factor to the deterioration of this species.