CPC Plant Profile: Venus' Flytrap
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Plant Profile

Venus' Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

Photo Credit: Johnny Randall
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Droseraceae
  • State: FL, NC, NJ, SC
  • Nature Serve ID: 159781
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 10/22/2021

Basic Description: Perennial, insectivorous, scapose herb; 10 to 30 cm tall (Kral 1983). Rosette leaves spread in all directions from the contracted stem, with broad, flat petioles (leaf stems) which become constricted just below the blades (Kral 1983, Russo 1993). Leaf blades are highly modified and resemble beartraps, with the midrib acting as a hinge and the edges with stout marginal bristles used to trap insects once the tactile hairs near the midrib are activated (Kral 1983, Russo 1993). The upper surfaces of the blades vary in color from green to bright red (Kral 1983). Inflorescences of few to several flowers at the summit of a slender scape; petals are white in color, with prominent green venation (Kral 1983). The seeds are black and lustrous, and are exposed once the mature capsule opens (Kral 1983, Weakley 1996). [JRB]  (NatureServe 2018)

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/05/2020
  • Genetic Research

Preliminary Genetic results from the 2017 Study conducted by Johnny Randall and colleagues revealed the following: (1) Restriction site-Associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) of 160 markers indicate limited genetic variation within the first population sampled. (2) Genetic variation was surprisingly heterogeneous across loci with some populations harboring appreciable variation and others harboring next to none. (Randall et al. 2018)

  • 10/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

In 2017, Johnny Randall and colleagues collected over 26,415 seeds from 20 sites all by maternal line (other than bulk collection) - vacuum-sealed and frozen. (Randall et al. 2018)

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/20/2018

Venus Flytrap is a widely traded species in the horticulture trade. Poaching continues to be a threat. Plants growing alongside roadways are especially vulnerable due to potential herbicide exposure. The construction of a highway will most likely cause the small population located in South Carolina to slip into extinction.  (Randall et al. 2018)

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/20/2018

The NatureServe global rank of Venus fly trap was changed from vulnerable (G3) to imperiled (G2) in 2018 to reflect declining population sizes and continued poaching threats. Currently there is a petition in place submitted by Don Waller of University of WI to upgrade to Endangered or Threatened. (Randall et al. 2018). 

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/20/2018

Upcoming 2018 study to be conducted by Johnny Randall and colleagues with specific aims: (1) Sample 150 VFT populations across the existing range for both tissue and seeds and create a long-term seed bank as a conservation resource.  (2) Evaluate standing genetic variation in 40 select populations using restriction site associated DNA sequencing (Next Generation RAD-seq.).  Special emphasis will be placed on collecting from private lands rather than public lands as was performed in the 2017 study. In addition, a new Status Survey will have to be performed. (Randall et al. 2018)

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/20/2018

Preliminary Genetic results from the 2017 Study conducted by Johnny Randall and colleagues revealed the following:  (1) Restriction site-Associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) of 160 markers indicate limited genetic variation within the first population sampled.  (2) Genetic variation was surprisingly heterogeneous across loci with some populations harboring appreciable variation and others harboring next to none.  (Randall et al. 2018)

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/20/2018

In 2017, Johnny Randall and colleagues collected over 26,415 seeds from 20 sites all by maternal line (other than bulk collection) - vacuum-sealed and frozen. (Randall et al. 2018)

Elvia Ryan
  • 07/18/2018

In 2017, Mike Kunz and colleagues at North Carolina Botanic Garden conducted a study of pollinators of the Venus fly trap. They found that bees, beetles, and flies are the dominant pollinator species (Youngsteadt et al. 2018). 

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Nomenclature
Taxon Dionaea muscipula
Authority Ellis
Family Droseraceae
CPC Number 1419
ITIS 22008
USDA DIMU4
Common Names Venus' Fly-trap | Venus flytrap | Venus fly trap
Associated Scientific Names Dionaea muscipula | Dionaea corymbosa | Dionaea sensitiva | Dionaea sessiliflora | Dionaea uniflora | Drosera sessiliflora | Drosera uniflora
Distribution Current range: The range of Venus flytrap is quite localized in scattered savannas of the coastal plain of southeastern North Carolina and adjacent eastern South Carolina in an approximate landward radius of 100 miles around Wilmington, North Carolina (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program 2010). Currently 68 extant occurrences are known from the following counties in North Carolina (the number of occurrences in parentheses): Bladen (5), Brunswick (21), Carteret (1), Columbus (3), Craven (1), Cumberland (4), Hoke (7), New Hanover (5), Onslow (12), Pender (7), and Sampson (2) (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program 2010), and Horry County (4), South Carolina (South Carolina Heritage Trust 1993b).  (NatureServe 2018)
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida SNA
North Carolina S3
New Jersey SNA
South Carolina S3
Habitat

Venus fly trap is typically found in the wet pine savannah of North Carolina (Randall et al 2018).
In the Outer Coastal Plain, where it is more common, Dionaea muscipula occurs in broad ecotonal areas between Pine Savannas or Wet Pine Flatwoods and pocosins (evergreen shrub bogs). These sites are generally flat with wet or moist soils for much of the year. The species rarely occurs in seasonally flooded depressions, although it may occur along the edges of such sites.  In the Sandhills region, it is limited to narrow, moist ecotones between Streamhead Pocosins (linear, evergreen shrub bogs along small creeks and their headwaters) and longleaf pine/scrub oak/wiregrass uplands and along the vegetatively similar ecotones between Sandhill Seeps and longleaf pine uplands. Sandhill Seeps are sphagnous, shrub-and-herb-dominated areas occurring in relatively steep places where local clay soils force seepage water to the surface. Soils in these ecotonal areas are usually highly acidic, loamy sands. (NatureServe 2018)

Ecological Relationships

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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