The Spoonleaf Sundew
(Drosera intermedia) catches insects using small
Yellow Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava) attracts insects
with big, bright flowers and leaves that are shaped like hollow
tubes. These hollow leaves are called pitchers. The pitchers contain
juices that digest insects. They also have slippery walls
that keep insects from climbing out.
Photo by Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS
Database / USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora: Field
office guide to plant species. South National Technical
Center, Fort Worth, TX.
The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) catches and
digests insects inside special leafs called traps.
Photo courtesy of J. Dan Pittillo @ USDA-NRCS
The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) attracts
insects with its large white flowers.
Photo courtesy of William S. Justice @
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
The sand rims around the edges of
Carolina Bays do not contain the
nutrients that most plants
need. Some plants have adapted by developing a bizarre way of getting nutrients – they eat insects!
Pitcher plants, sundew, and the famous Venus flytrap are some of
that live around
Carolina Bays. They are found mixed with wiregrass and orchids
in longleaf pine savannahs. Most of these
plants are very rare. They are only found in a small area
East Coast of the United States. Venus flytraps are only found in the wild within
75 miles of Wilmington, NC.
The Venus flytrap’s trap is a special leaf
that is designed to catch and digest insects. Small guard hairs on the trap
tell the plant when food has arrived. When an insect
touches the guard hairs, they instantly snap together. The insect
is trapped inside. The
plant excretes juices into the trap.
The juices kill and break down the
insect so the plant can get nutrients from it. It takes
3-5 days for the plant to fully digest
the insect. Then, the trap opens again to wait
for new prey.
Each trap can only open and close 3 times
before it dies. Each spring, new traps grow to replace
those that have died. It is very important not
to make the traps close, just for fun. This
kills the traps before the plant has caught all the
insects it needs to survive.
Sadly, Venus flytraps are now
endangered. Most of their habitat is now gone.
People also dig them up to sell them as
houseplants. Taking Venus flytraps and other endangered plants
from the wild is illegal. It
reduces the number of plants in the wild. Venus flytraps
can be grown at home from seeds. Many plant shops sell carnivorous plants that have
been grown from seeds. It you want to buy a Venus flytrap for your
home, make sure that the plant was grown from seed and not taken
from the wild.
There are also rare birds that live in
longleaf pine savannahs. Click on the bird to