Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week of the Triffids: Venus' Flytrap.

After two quizzes and one big binary test (pray to whatever deity you worship that my soul survives after that one), Triffid Week brings a really, really easy plant to cover: The Venus flytrap (Dionea muscipula).

In case you were wondering about the name, yes, it refers to the Roman goddess of love and (in the scientific name) her ad-libbed mother. There are a number of suggestions for its nomenclature, but the real story behind it is the plant's resemblance to a vulva. It has two roundish, sensitive lobes surrounded by hairs. Scientists are all perverts; get used to it.

I'm looking at breast...cancer. Right.

The Venus flytrap is the most famous carnivorous plant in the world, bearing more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at. It has an almost cute little mouth that looks like it could belong to an animal, complete with 'teeth' around the edges. Although sundews and pitcher plants are all well and good, flytraps are easily the most sensationalized plants in the media.

i herd u lieked muscips?

Of course, who could forget Audrey II, the plant that almost took over the world in Little Shop of Horrors?

In the original ending, Audrey II succeeded.

Despite its amazing media coverage and captive cultivation (including a red strain), the Venus flytrap is native only to the bogs of the U.S. Carolinas and is listed as 'vulnerable.' Preventing forest fires is decreasing their numbers; they rely on fires to help them reproduce.

...can stop the upcoming flytrap invasion. Don't play with matches, kids!

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