Venus Flytrap Natural History and Current Status
Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are native to an approximately one hundred square mile radius within the Carolinas' Coastal Plain ecoregion. More recently they have naturalized into a few places in Florida and New England. These mysterious plants with modified leaves that catch and digest various invertebrates have captured the attention of many. Their mechanism of capture was only recently understood. I've observed a venus flytrap capture a large hornet! Everyday, their presence in the wild becomes more restricted due to human activities, including development and poaching. Since these plants are rewarding to gardeners for their beauty, wonder, and natural mutant variability, venus flytrap cultivation should continue sustainably for future generations. Propagation techniques such as growing from seed, natural divisions, and micropropagation (tissue culture) of plant materials that have been in cultivation for extended lengths of time helps to reduce their loss in wild habitats.
North American Pitcher Plants
North American pitcher plants (Sarracenia spp.) are found throughout the southeast with a one species (Sarracenia purpurea) extending north into Canada. Like the venus flytrap, pitcher plants are increasingly threatened in the wild due to human activity. These plants are fun to grow as garden perennials, in pots, or mini-bogs. You can even play bee and complete your own cross-pollinations of your selected plant varieties. Sarracenia spp. readily hybridize and many shapes, sizes, and colors are produced upon hybridization. North American pitcher plants are cold tolerant and all species and hybrids will remain healthy if grown outdoors. These pitcher plants can be propagated through divisions during dormancy in winter or during early spring when the plants are transitioning to the growing season. Plants are relatively easy to grow from seed using specified techniques included on the growing information page.
Sundews (Drosera spp.) are one of the most spectacular carnivorous plants! You can watch these plants slowly consume their prey. Each of the modified leaves have hundreds of tentacles excreting sticky sugars. Once the insect is stuck to the leaf, the tentacles inject into the prey and pull the useful insides (GUTS) out. There are hundreds of sundew species all over the world from pygmy sundews to the giant African Drosera regia. There are a handful of sundew species occuring in North America including Drosera intermedia in the photograph to the left. Most sundews are faster growing than venus flytraps and pitcher plants and each new seedling may flower and produce seed within one year. Drosera intermedia and cape South African sundews are one of the easiest sundews to grow for beginning carnivorous plant enthusiast. Please refer to our growing information page for further notes.