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Venus Flytrap

Dionaea muscipula
Venus flytraps belong to genus Dionaea of the sundew family (Droseraceae), and Dionaea muscipula is the only species in this genus. It is one of the most fascinating carnivorous plants. It has active snap traps, which are extremely quick and sudden. It is one of a few plants that are capable of rapid movement.

Trapping system:

A Venus flytrap leaf has two regions: a long heart-shaped petiole that is capable of photosynthesis; and a two-lobed trap-like leaf blade. The leaf blade is covered with mesh-like cilia.

A two-lobes Venus flytrap leaf blade
Cilia: (guard hairs). Prevent big prey from escaping, and let small prey escape to conserve energy.
Trigger hairs: There are usually three trigger hairs on each lobe, forming a triangle with the apex pointing toward midrib. To trigger a flytrap, one can either touch a trigger hair twice, or touch two trigger hairs within 20 seconds. There are many other factors (such as the plant's health, age, ambient temperature, and how long since the last closure etc.) that also influence the triggering of a flytrap.

There are two structurally identical sessile glands on the lobes:
Alluring glands: colorless, located at the outer margin of the lobes. They produce sweet nectar to lure prey.
Digestive glands: the reddish regions of the lobes. The red color comes from the anthocyanin pigments and works as another attraction beside the nectar. They secret enzymes to digest the prey and absorb its nutrients. Venus flytraps do not need bacteria for digestion.


A Venus flytrap leaf



Left over after a meal:
Venus flytraps cannot digest the exoskeleton of their prey. They just absorb the "juice" of the digested prey and let wind or rain clean up the remains.

A flowering Venus flytrap:
Each flower has five sepals and five petals on a long stalk. There are many stamens (usually 15) and one compound pistil.


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