Usually at Light Future Art, we talk about animals (prehistoric or living) or dinosaurs. Today, we’re going to dive into a slightly different territory and share some interesting facts about the Venus flytrap.
1. Despite their name, flies do not make up the majority of the diet of a Venus flytrap. Most of the insects they capture are ants, with flies, spiders, beetles, and even slugs making up a much smaller portion.
2. Venus flytraps are native to North and South Carolina. They have also been successfully introduced to other states, such as Florida and even New Jersey. This plant flourishes in humid, tropical regions and requires a lot of sunlight to grow.
3. The Venus flytrap was first described to Europeans by the colonial governor of North Carolina Arthur Dobbs. He named the plant initially “Fly Trap Sensitive”, grouping it in with a larger family of plants called “Sensitives”. This referred to the sensors on the flytrap which detect movement. The flytrap was officially named by John Ellis a little under a decade later.
4. Flytraps lure insects in by secreting a fragrant, delicious nectar. The plant has sensors on the trap to detect movement and will only close in around its prey if the insect moves around enough. This prevents debris or other plants from triggering a closure of the jaws.
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5. The Venus flytrap plant is not comprised of one singular trap. Usually five or six separate traps grow on one stem, with a cluster of white flowers growing in the middle. It grows from a bulb, and whenever a new bulb is created, it’s easy for gardeners to separate it and plant it elsewhere. The seeds are very small and black, and are glossy and reflective.
6. It takes the Venus flytrap anywhere between one to two weeks to completely finish digesting a bug. Even after this time when the trap opens once again, there are always some parts which are left over because they were too difficult to digest.
7. Carnivorous plants, including Venus flytraps, are believed to have evolved to compensate for growing in soils which lack nutritional value. These plants do need water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to grow, but they can’t get all the nutrients they need from the ground so they evolved to catch prey to stay alive. It is unknown exactly how they evolved or when, because these types of plants typically do not leave fossils.
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