Save our Venus Fly Trap

Editorial: Save our Venus’

Editorial from the Wilminton Star

Published: Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 5:10 p.m.

Last Modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 5:10 p.m.

DionaeaIt seems only fitting that in a place
called Cape
Fear we have plants that
eat flesh, albeit insect flesh.

we can lay claim to Michael Jordan. But nowhere else in the world will you find
naturally occurring Venus’ flytraps except within 100 miles of Wilmington.

hungry herbs like bogs and damp savannas. Not too wet. Not too dry. These areas
can be sparse in nutrients, so the plant has evolved to get nutrition via the
insects and spiders that may land on its leaves.

They thrive
in areas such as the Green
Swamp in Brunswick and Columbus counties. You’ll also find them in the
woods near Alderman Elementary School in Wilmington. But don’t dig one up – it’s against
state law.

Interestingly, the flytraps prosper in wooded areas that
have had fires. A few seasons with no fire activity, and the habitat becomes
less hospitable.

The biggest
threat to flytraps is the booming development in Southeastern North Carolina and
across the state line into South
Carolina. In fact, The Associated Press recently
reported that in the Palmetto
State the plants are now almost
entirely confined to Horry County.

For years,
horticulturist Stanley Rehder has been the flytrap’s best friend, working to
preserve habitat and to educate the public about the unique plant. Let’s hope
there will be people to take up his cause.

it would help if the state raised the status of the plant from “special concern”
to “threatened.” Currently there are enough populations to keep it off the
threatened list, but not many of those populations are in good condition. With a
plant this unique to our area, adding it to the “threatened” list seems like a
reasonable move.

No matter
the status, with a staff of only three, the N.C. Plant Conservation Program
would find it difficult to enforce regulations. So it’s ultimately up to the
people of the Cape
Fear region to preserve
this mysterious part of our ecosystem.

efforts and the identification and protection of habitats are the best options.
Areas such as the Green Swamp Preserve are off limits to development, but the
plant needs a wider range of habitat to survive and

And who
knows? Maybe one day the plants will develop an insatiable appetite for

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>