CPC Plant Profile: Venus' Flytrap
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Plant Profile

Venus' Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

Photo Credit: Johnny Randall
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Droseraceae
  • State: FL, NC, NJ, SC

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)

Conservation Actions:
Participating Institutions
Taxon Dionaea muscipula
Authority Ellis
Family Droseraceae
CPC Number 1419
ITIS 22008
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

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


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