If anything touches the small stiff hairs in the mouth of a Venus flytrap, the lobes on the plant snap shut, trapping whatever landed in the plant.
By Leilani Blair.
This carnivorous plant gathers nutrients from gases in the air and from the soil. The venus flytrap is native in parts of North and South Carolina. When the venus flytrap’s mouth is open wide you can see short hairs, these are called trigger hairs or sensitive hairs. If anything touches these small stiff hairs, the lobes on the plant snap shut, trapping whatever landed in the plant.
When the trap is closing, it doesn’t close all the way. It slowly shuts allowing the smaller insects to escape. If the plant detects that the object in its mouth is not food, it will spit it out after twelve hours. When the trap is closing, the finger like objects on the plant keep the larger insects inside.
After a few minutes of the plant shutting, the mouth of the plant shuts all the way tightly down creating an airtight seal. The seal does the job of creating a way for the digestive flood to stay inside and the bacteria out. If the insect is too large it will not allow the mouth of the plant to shut. When the mouth does not shut it allows bacteria and mold to thrive. This bacteria and mold will eventually turn black, and rot.
When the plant is trying to digest the insect it releases digestive juice. The digestive juice breaks down the soft part of the insect but not the outer part. This total digestive process takes five to twelve days. After this process, the mouth of the plant reabsorbs the digestive juice and reopens its mouth. When the plant reopens its mouth, the outer part of the insect blows away in the wind.
The venus flytrap is an easy plant to grow. There are four requirements for this plant when growing. These requirements include wet roots, high humidity, full sunlight, and poor, acidic soil. The venus flytrap can be grown inside and outdoors.
Once the plant matures, it is possible for it to grow flowers. Each of these flowers can produce very small seeds. The plant can also reproduce by its rhizome. If the plant has more than seven leaves, then it has already split from the mother plant.
This article was originally published in the CAFNRM/Agriculture Club Newsletter Nov – Dec 2017 Issue 2.