Overall At-Risk Score: 61
Dionaea muscipula (Ellis)
Venus Flytrap, Venus’ Flytrap, or Venus’s Flytrap, Meadow Clam
Droseraceae (Sundew family)
D. muscipula extends a short flower stalk, about 4-12 inches tall, in early summer. The flowers are relatively large compared to the size of the plant with white blossoms. The plant’s small black fruits develop and ripen through the peak of summer.
The Venus Flytrap has a very small native range and is limited to the southeast portion of North Carolina and the coast of South Carolina. However, it has also been reported in Liberty and Franklin counties in Florida and parts of New Jersey (though no specific county data has been recorded).
Venus Flytraps are specialized for life in low nutrient, permanently wet soils and live in two distinct areas: the sandhills and coastal plains. The Sandhills are a specific region that spreads from southern North Carolina to northern Georgia and, as the name implies, are easily identified by the sandy soil and the vast pine forest that spreads throughout it. Venus Flytraps usually live in the wet transitional areas next to streams that run through the forest. Coastal plains are regions of flat land off the coast of the ocean and have the highest population out of the two regions, having lots of small hollows that allow water to pool in them for most of the year.
Vulnerability of Habitat/Changes of Habitat Quality and Availability:
The bogs and wet savannahs that Venus Flytraps rely on are particularly vulnerable to pollution and are difficult to properly manage. Restoring and creating bogs is a long and complicated process, emphasizing how important it is to conserve these rare biomes.
Ability to Withstand Disturbance and Overharvest:
Venus Flytraps are very resilient to natural disturbances and are actually dependent on fire to prevent overcrowding from competition. When it comes to disturbances caused by humans, however, they are quite fragile, and poaching is a major concern. Pollution is causing massive disruption to their already limited habitat, and poaching has become such a huge issue that North Carolina passed a law back in 2014 that made poaching a class H felony, which has a maximum sentence of 39 months in prison.
Status of Endangered/Threatened (by state):
Venus Flytraps are listed as being of “Special Concern” in North Carolina.
Dionaea muscipula is recognized as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List
Part of Plant Used/Active Medicinal Compounds:
Typically the entire plant is taken and used to create an extract.
This plant is a popular collector’s plant for home gardeners, which has created a large commercial market for nursery-grown plants.
Recommendations for industrial and home use:
This plant is at great risk of becoming endangered, and wild harvest is a major contributor to this. Ask the people in your local nursery if their Venus Flytraps were grown in the nursery, rather than taken from the wild, before you purchase one. If you’re unsure if a plant was harvested from the wild, there are plenty of other lovely carnivorous plants that are just as easy to take care of as Venus Flytraps.
- Felony taking of Venus flytrap, N.C. § 14-129.3.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. (2014, April 08). Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap). Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=dimu4
- Schnell, D., Catling, P., Folkerts, G., Frost, C., Gardner, R., et al. 2000. Dionaea muscipula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2000: e.T39636A10253384. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2000.RLTS.T39636A10253384.en. Downloaded on 08 July 2019.
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2019, March 25). Venus flytrap. Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/plants/venus-flytrap/
- United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Plants Profile for Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap). Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=DIMU4