In of birds and maybe bats, but

In this lesson you will learn the scientific classification of a Venus flytrap. In addition, you’ll look at the anatomy of both the main plant and the traps themselves.

Carnivorous Plants

When you think about things that eat insects, what comes to mind? Probably you thought of birds and maybe bats, but what about plants? There are actually several different types of carnivorous, meat-eating, plants that catch insects. One of these is the Venus flytrap.

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Venus flytraps conduct photosynthesis like regular plants, but they supplement their diet with insects. While bugs of all types make up this carnivorous plant’s typical diet, amazingly, there is video footage of a Venus flytrap closing over a frog!


Every species has its own taxonomy, or scientific classification. One way to remember all the parts typically included in taxonomy is with this mnemonic: King Philip Came Over For Green Spaghetti. Here, the first letter of each word represents the first letter of each of the main taxonomic groups: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.

Here is the classification for the Venus flytrap:Kingdom: PlantaePhylum: Anthophyta All the members of this group produce flowers.Class: Magnoliopsida The members of this group are all dicots, meaning their seeds contain two separate embryo leaves.Order: CaryophyllalesFamily: Droseraceae This is the family of carnivorous plants.Genus/Species: Dionaea muscipula The Venus flytrap is actually the only member of the Dionaea genus.When you are given the ‘scientific name’ for a species, typically you are only told the genus and species names. For example, the standard scientific name for the Venus flytrap is Dionaea muscipula.


When you think of the word ‘anatomy,’ the first things that come to mind might be bones and muscles, but plants have anatomy, too.

Anatomy is simply the physical makeup of a living creature.

The Plant

The main plant part of the Venus flytrap is somewhat circular, and it lies very close to the ground. The ‘leaves’ are long, flat stalks that run out from the center point.

The leaf-stalks are also close to the ground, and grow out from the plant rather than up. It is these leaves that conduct photosynthesis. There are usually four to seven of these stalks, with the traps located at the very ends.The Venus flytrap also has roots, just like other plants, so it can get water and nutrients from the soil. Given the small size of the plant, their roots are fairly long.

The plants are about six inches across when fully grown, and the roots are three or four inches long.

Venus flytraps grow in a mostly flat circle on the ground
Venus flytrap

The Traps

The traps themselves grow at the ends of the leaf-stalks and are easily recognized as they look like an open jaw filled with spiky teeth with a red mouth on the inside. The two halves of the trap are connected by a hinge, called a midrib.

The trap produces a sweet sap to attract insects. Basically, it makes its own bait!Inside the lobes of the trap are trigger hairs that let the plant know when there is an insect in the trap. When two or more trigger hairs are touched in a 30-second period, a small electrical current is sent out that causes the trap to snap shut. The outside of the traps are lined with cilia, long hair-like fibers that help keep the prey from escaping as the trap closes.

After it shuts, the trap releases digestive juices that dissolve the insect. Only the exoskeleton will remain, and this simply blows away or falls off when the trap eventually reopens.

Closeup of a single trap on a Venus flytrap
Single flytrap

The Flower

Once a year, the Venus flytrap produces a flower so that it can be pollinated and reproduce.

The flower can be as much as twelve inches tall. Unlike the leaves, the stalk for the flower grows straight up. This height prevents the pollinating insects from getting caught in any of the traps. It has five white petals that have radial symmetry.

Botanical drawing of a flowering Venus flytrap
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  • Watch a closer look at these specialized plants.
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