The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory will close at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, due to an official government function. The Conservatory will return to normal hours December 7.
The Venus fly trap is endemic in sandy, acidic, low-nutrient boggy soils in a small area of the coastal pine savannah along the border of North and South Carolina. Although a common house plant, Dionaea muscipula is very vulnerable in the wild, due in part to its popularity. Isolated wild populations are illegally harvested, decreasing the genetic diversity and damaging the delicate habitat. You ensure purchased plants are not wild harvested if they are "nursery propagated," or if it is one of the popular cultivars such as 'Giant' or 'Royal Red.' The adapted leaves form the 'trap,' which closes on prey when any two hairs (seen in photo) are activated or a single trigger hair is activated twice within a few seconds. Once the trap is closed, digestive enzymes are released digesting the trapped prey.