skip to main content

Seasonal Science: Venus Flytraps

3 minutes

(female narrator) Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, and the predatory carnivorous Venus flytrap, of course.

Seasonal Science brings you "Venus Flytraps." Head to your botanical garden this spring and you'll likely see a small white flower sprouting amid the intimidating jaws of the Venus flytrap. How does a carnivorous plant avoid eating the insects that pollinate it? Scientists are asking that question as well, and although they don't yet know all of the insects that pollinate wild flytraps, they have some ideas of how it might happen. First, the Venus flytrap's flower sits on a stalk far above the trap, and for a plant whose meals include many crawling insects, flying pollinators that stay in the higher altitude have a decent chance of avoiding the trap and pollinating successfully. Secondly, the flowers may appeal to a different set of insects altogether. For a plant that eats carrion-seeking insects that are attracted to that meaty-colored interior, pollinators that are attracted to its flower may think the traps are unappealing. The jury is still out, but what scientists do know is that beyond sunlight, water, and the occasional mineral-rich morsel, the Venus flytrap blooms better after a good fire. You heard that right. Besides the ability to survive a fire, flytraps flower quite nicely once all those taller, shade-producing shrubs are out of the picture. But if you are in the 74-mile habitat in southeastern North Carolina that is home to flytraps and you find one, don't pick the flower or the plant. Due to its status as threatened, poaching Venus flytraps is a felony. You could spend up to 39 months in prison and pay a hefty fine. So, as springtime rolls around, why not head to the botanical gardens and take some time to stop and smell the Venus flytraps?

[man sniffs] Mmm.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Transcript Options


Now Playing As: Captioned (English) (change)

Report a Problem

The Venus flytrap is a carnivorous plant notable for its unusual habit of catching and digesting insects and other small animals. It has also adapted so it can survive in the sandy soils of coastal areas. Part of the "Seasonal Science" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

Seasonal Science
Episode 1
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 2
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 3
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 4
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 5
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 6
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Seasonal Science
Episode 7
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12