The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula) is a carnivorous plant that has intrigued kids for decades. Originally from the wetlands of America, it thrives on poor soil conditions and therefore needs to trap insects for extra nutrition. The flytrap catches its prey by secreting a mucous which attracts insects and then traps them with a highly sophisticated trapping mechanism. When the insect crawls across the plant, there are 3 tiny hairs (triggers) in the trap and when two of them are touched, the trap closes in one-tenth of a second. The plant is so sensitive that it can tell a living insect from a raindrop. When the plant has digested all the juices of the insect, the trap will open and only the husk of the insect will remain (as in the photo above).
Make a feature of your carnivorous plant by popping it into a decorative bowl. We chose this old fishbowl as we were hoping to recreate a bit of the humidity to mimic the plant’s natural habitat. Also, the children have discovered to their glee, it is easier to ‘feed’ the plant by popping a fly into the bowl and covering the rim with cling film so that it doesn’t escape. The enthusiasm of feeding the flytrap makes it feel more like a pet than a plant.
Crush some old leaves collected on a forest walk to make a base – bearing in mind the plant enjoys poor soil conditions.
Crumble in a bit of soil for good measure…………