While we were in Florida, my friend Alan Knothe showed me several interesting insectivorous (insect eating) plants growing in the Apalachicola National Forest. These plants grow in Florida’s wetlands, especially in the Panhandle where 29 species have been found. The Venus Flytrap is a “one-of-a-kind” plant. Most plant groups include many species but there is only one species of Venus Flytrap. Not native to Florida, it is found in the coastal plains of North Carolina and NE South Carolina and was brought to Florida from there. When an insect brushes against the hairs of the plant the leaves snap shut and trap the insect. The plant has developed an ingenious way of deciding if the disturbance is actually from an insect or from some debris which has fallen on it. It waits until the hairs have been touched at least twice before it shuts. What’s more, the second touch can occur up to 40 seconds after the first one. After that time, the plant “resets” itself. If an insect has really come into the plant’s grasp, it would likely have moved within 40 seconds. This plant is considered an endangered species.
venus flytrapapalachicola national forest