Little Shop Of Horrors Bears A Hint Of Truth

by Lanny Hintz - Date: 2007-01-22 - Word Count: 429 Share This!

While the Venus Flytrap cannot actually swallow humans whole, or talk, it is true that the plant exists and is in fact carnivorous. Feeding mostly on insects and arachnids, the plant is one of the only in existence that is not autotrophic (able to produce its own food via photosynthesis).

The Venus Flytrap is named after the Roman goddess Venus, who is the goddess of Love and Plants. It is an herb made up of four to seven leaves, which produces small white flowers in the spring. Its leaves are a complex structure consisting of two lobes with small hair-like protrusions called cilia lining the outside. These cilia must be disturbed twice in a row to evoke a reaction from the quiet stationary predator. This feature allows for raindrops and other falling objects to land on the plant without disturbing it.

Once prey is "detected" on the leaf of the Venus Flytrap, the mechanism snaps shut in about 100ms (much less than a second), trapping the prey inside. As the prey continues to wriggle about in an attempt to escape, the leaf seals off the outer edges, completely trapping the prey inside a kind of cocoon, where digestion occurs. The Venus Flytrap releases enzymes which break down the organism into usable components, leaving nothing but a husk of chitin remaining for the plant to dispose of. The digestion process takes a total of ten days, at the end of which the leaf is capable of consuming another organism. However, it is rare for a leaf to consume more than a few organisms in its lifespan.

The Flytrap is native to bogs and is traditionally found in North and South Carolina in the swamps. However, with its unique nature, the plant has been cultivated for growth and consumer sale. Despite its popularity, the Venus Flytrap is notoriously difficult to keep alive, mostly due to neglect and ignorance. Domestic habitats must mimic its native habitat -- in areas of low humidity, the plant must sit in a pan of water in order to raise the humidity of its surroundings.

The plants must be given prey to catch; however, the traps should not be triggered manually. The plant is inherently capable of catching its own food. They must be given only distilled water, and provided with insects no more than a third of the size of their leaves.

Given the difficult nature of the plants, many would consider this plant more trouble than its worth. However, with careful attention to its needs, one can raise a healthy Flytrap and enjoy one of Nature's most unique and captivating organisms.

Lanny Hintz writes about BagsBuy coupon codes, ebag coupon codes and Irv coupons
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