Bank Holiday Monday was a washout (again) and there was no possibility of getting out in the garden so we decided on some retail therapy – a visit to a garden centre. When we got there Thomas disappeared into one of the heated greenhouses and found some Carnivorous plants; he was fascinated by them as were some of the other children. We bought a Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea) and a Sundew (Drosera), to add to the Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) that we already have in the greenhouse at home.
The Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea) is perhaps the most well known carnivorous plant, its traps are made from special leaves that are folded in two with spines along the edges. Inside each trap there are three trigger hairs, two of these must be touched in succession for the trap to close catching its insect prey inside. The plant absorbs the nutrients from the insect and after about ten days the trap re-opens. It is not recommended that you make the traps close without an insect inside as this can weaken the plant.
The Sundew (Drosera) captures its prey in a totally different way, each of its leaves have lots of little hairs that look like they are covered in dew but this is actually glue, when an insect lands on them it gets stuck and is then absorbed by the plant.
The Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) has another method of catching its prey. The leaves of the pitcher plant are shaped like a funnel with a hood over the top, the lip of the funnel is slippery, the insect lands on this and falls in, it is trapped inside by backward pointing hairs and cannot get out, then it is absorbed by the plant.
Place Carnivorous Plants in a light position, and keep them well watered with rainwater.
The next day Thomas took his plants to show his grandma and grandad and for them to ‘feed in their conservatory’ as there are a lot of flies in there!
I remember having a Venus Fly Trap when I was about Thomas’s age.