Photo: slayerphoto (Flickr)
Some thoughtful friends gave me a gift of the book The Savage Garden – Cultivating Carnivorous Plants by Peter D’Amato. I am fascinated by the information it contains.
Probably the most well-known savage plant is the Venus Flytrap. It was first described in 1763 by the then Governor of North Carolina, Arthur Dobbs. Specimens of this unusual Native American plant were packed off to England. When the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus saw it, he did not believe that it was a carnivorous plant.
Later, however, Charles Darwin said that it truly was the first carnivorous plant ever to be found. It is native only to the coastal plain of South Eastern North Carolina and the extreme Northeast of South Carolina, on a 100 mile radius from Wilmington.
Due to recent drainage of the wetlands the Flytrap is threatened by a loss of habitat according to D’Amato. Flytraps grow in warm-temperate climates, in damp conditions, where the soil is peaty and sandy. They like humidity, are perennial, and can live for two to three decades in the wild.
In late winter they break dormancy by producing a small rosette of wide heart-shaped petioles hugging the ground and then send up small traps which actually are the true leaves. After they produce white flowers in the spring (these should be cut off if you have a house plant), they send up large traps. It takes a Flytrap 4-10 days to digest its prey.
Page 61-69, The Savage Garden by Peter D’Amato, Ten Speed Press (Berkeley, California), 1998