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Venus Flytrap

(Dionaea muscipula)


The Venus flytrap is found in nitrogen- and phosphorus-poor environments, such as bogs, wet savannahs, and canebrakes. Venus flytraps tolerate fire well and depends on periodic burning to suppress its competition.1 Fire suppression threatens its future in the wild. It survives in wet, sandy, and peaty soils. Although it has been successfully transplanted and grown in many locales around the world, it is native only to the coastal bogs of North and South Carolina in the United States, specifically within a 100-kilometer (60 mi) radius of Wilmington, North Carolina One such place is North Carolina’s Green Swamp. The nutritional poverty of the soil is the reason it relies on such elaborate traps: insect prey provide the nitrogen for protein formation that the soil cannot. They tolerate mild winters, and Venus flytraps that do not go through a period of winter dormancy will weaken and die after a period of time. They are full sun plants, usually found only in areas with less than 10% canopy cover. The habitats where it thrives are typically either too nutrient-poor for many noncarnivorous plants to survive, or frequently disturbed by fires which regularly clear vegetation and prevent a shady overstory from developing. It can be found living alongside herbaceous plants, grasses, sphagnum, and fire-dependent Arundinaria bamboos. Regular fire disturbance is an important part of its habitat, required every 3–5 years in most places for D. muscipula to thrive.

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