Natural Habitat

The Venus Fly Trap is endemic to the coastal plains of North and South Carolina, but attempts are under way to establish a stand of them in suitable sites in such states as New Jersey and Virginia. They usually grow in semi-pocosin or semi-savannah areas which are intermediate between the wet evergreen bogs and the dry sandy regions in the longleaf pine area. A pocosin is a swamp or a marsh and a savannah is a grassland with scattered trees. The region in which they grow is better known as an ecotone, the transition area between two types of habitats. Often they are found in the company of other carnivorous plants such as Sundews, Butterworts, Bladderworts, and Pitcher Plants. Venus Fly Traps inhabit relatively flat surfaces, avoiding depressions where excess water may accumulate, but thrive along the upper portions of the depressions. Even though they grow in damp soils, these soils may become desiccated during the dry season without any apparent harm to the plants.

Fire appears to be an important ecological factor in the survival of Dionaea in nature. The invigorating effect of fire may be due to the release of nutrients in a more available form and/or the elimination of competing plants and detritus, on accumulated plant remains. Results from studies to date favor the latter conclusion. Even though the rhizomes are usually found within 4 in. (10 cm) of the soil surface, the heat from fire does not injure the larger and deeper rhizomes. The moist nature of the soil tends to keep the soil temperatures lower.

The natural soil in which the Venus Fly Traps grow consists of a surface layer of thin peaty material underlaid with mineral soil. About 8% of the soil is organic matter and about 95% of the remaining mineral matter is sand. The bulk of the Venus Fly Trap's roots are usually confined to the upper 4 in. (10 cm) of the soil with some extending to a depth of 1 ft. (30.5 cm). Chemical testing of the soil reveals it has a low fertility with a low pH which ranges from 3 to 5.

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