The Venus Flytrap
Dionaea muscipula is a carnivorous plant that is native to North America and more specifically the southeastern parts of the United States. Most people know Dionaea muscipula by its common name, Venus Flytrap. The Venus flytrap is found mostly in North and South Carolina with a radius of about 60 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina. Although the Venus flytrap is native to this region, over the years people have transplanted the plant to Florida and Washington where they continue to grow. As mentioned earlier, the Venus Flytrap is a carnivorous plant meaning it gets some of its nutrients from small insects and animals by eating and digesting them. While the Venus Flytrap gets some of its nutrients from eating insects and animals, it also gets energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The Venus Flytrap is a very beautiful and interesting plant. It is found in most bogs and wet savannahs. Wet savannahs are wetlands with partially decayed vegetation. These types of ecosystems are very poor in nitrogen and phosphorus. Because these ecosystems are so poor in nitrogen and phosphorus, so is the plant. This is why the Venus Flytrap eats insects. It has evolved over time to make up for these deficiencies in nutrients. The Venus Flytrap is a small plant. Generally, it will not get over one foot tall and only grows about one inch in its first two years of life. It has anywhere from about four to ten leaves or “traps” that open and close. The traps are an awesome mechanism in that they can snap shut in about 1/30 of a second. The trap closes that fast when it is in direct sunlight. If the plant is in a darker environment or if there are clouds present then it slows. The “traps” have prickly leaves and are triggered by insects that crawl onto and near them. The Venus Flytrap tries to pick out the right size prey. A perfect size prey is about one third of the leaf’s size. If the prey is too big, the plant is unable to completely...
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