About CPs
The Genus Dionaea
Dionaea flower
Dionaea muscipula flowers.
Dionaea muscipula, Brunswick County, North Carolina.

Q: How did the Venus flytrap get its name?

A: Heh heh heh. Heh heh heh heh. Heh heh heh heh.

As lovely as Venus? Here's what I tell the kids.

The Venus flytrap gets the "Venus" part of its name because its flowers are really pretty (like the goddess Venus) and are white, like the planet Venus in the sky. The plant is not from Venus. The "Flytrap" part comes from its obvious bug-eating attributes.

This is, however...what shall I call it? A "comfortable fallacy." You often see this story maintained in books about carnivorous plants, but this is because of an article that John Ellis wrote in 1768. This is what you would call a cover story:

"...and from the beautiful Appearance of its Milk-white Flowers, and the Elegance of its Leaves, thought it well deserved one of the Names of the Goddess of Beauty, and therefore called it Dionaea."

What do you see? The true reason that Venus is part of this plant's name due to the dirty minds of the kooky naturalists and nuserymen...

Read more about how the Venus flytrap got its name at the ICPS sarracenia.com FAQ

The Venus flytrap is a plant in a monotypic genus. That means there is only one species of Venus flytrap: Dionaea muscipula. There is more to this, though. Even though there is but one species of Venus flytrap, horticulturists have developed a number of cultivar Venus flytraps. These are plants which have interesting characters. Some are interesting because they have nicely colored traps. Others have strange leaf forms.

Read more about Dionaea at the ICPS sarracenia.com FAQ

-- Barry Rice

Dionaea information on the ICPS carnivorousplants.org web site:

Registered Cultivar Names
Seed Bank: Growing Dionaea muscipula
Seed Bank: Check List for Growing Dionaea muscipula

Dionaea information in the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter:

Degreef, John D. (1988) The Electrochemical Mechanism of Trap Closure in Dionaea muscipula. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 17(3):80-83,91-94 ( )

Degreef, John D. (1988) The Evolution of Aldrovanda and Dionaea Traps. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 17(4):119-125 ( )

Szesze, Michael (1995) A Venus Flytrap Flipbook. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 24(1):20-21 ( )

Search the CPN Index and Archive for over 150 articles about Dionaea.

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