Brightmore University started the Fall semester with “All You Need to Know About Venus Flytraps”, the first in a two-part Horticulture Series that was presented by Richard Jones, NC Native, Naturalist, and NC Licensed to harvest Venus Flytraps from the Agriculture Department.
Plant lovers of all kinds joined for this event. Richard started by asking, “Did you know that Venus Flytraps exist in an 80 mile radius of Wilmington, NC, and nowhere else?” He has been growing Venus Flytraps for 25 years, selling them at Farmer Markets and educating the community on these exotic plants that live right in our backyard. Many think Venus Flytraps are tropical or rainforest plants, but that is not true. They are native to North Carolina. Venus Flytraps love our areas due to the wet environments of the swamps, creeks, rivers and oceans. They are year-round plants that love sun from the outside. They are also great porch plants. Their lifespan is 10-40 years; they love to capture flies, spiders, slugs, tree frogs and wasps for protein. They use their trigger hairs inside the trap to catch their prey; once a Venus Flytrap catches an inspect, it can take up to 1 day to 3 weeks for it to open back up due to the amount of digestion needed from the nutrients. Once the plant captures 3 times, it does die, but this can take many years. These plants bloom white flowers and can drop over 1,000 seeds at a time each season. Therefore, the harvests are usually very plentiful.
Richard also spoke of the early arguments pertaining to the Venus Flytraps from the greatest botanical minds that started as early as 1759, with Sir Author Dobbs and Peter Collins all the way to 1787, with Thomas Jefferson inquiring about these strange “monstrous-looking” plants. Participants enjoyed an up-close look and were able to touch and feed some of Richard’s own Venus Flytraps.