Dionaea 'Wacky Traps' Photo by Robert Ziemer

The Venus Fly Trap, or Dionaea muscipula, is part of a monotypic genus, meaning that there is only one species in the genus Dionaea and that species is muscipula. Unlike other plants, it isn't possible to grow different species of the genus that have distinct traits. However, through cultivation and some harvesting of unique plants from the field, there have been multiple cultivated varieties, abbreviated as cultivars, of Venus Fly Traps established that have certain characteristics that make them distinguishable from a typical Venus Fly Trap.

A cultivar can be a plant or a very similar set of plants that have characteristics that make the plant stand out from other plants of the same species. You can think of cultivars like breeds of dogs. Just like certain breeds of dogs have defining characteristics, but they are all from the same species, it is the same with cultivated varieties of Venus Fly Traps.

So how do cultivars come to be? Well, it is actually a quite simple process. The description of the cultivar must be published in a widely published journal or book and the author of the cultivar description must register with an "International Cultivar Registration Authority" (ICRA). The ICRA for carnivorous plants is the International Carnivorous Plant Society. You can find the registration forms on the ICPS website and you can also submit a description to the ICPS newsletter for publication if you have a particular plant that you would like to make an official cultivated variety.

Dionaea 'Red Piranha'

It is important to notice how cultivar names are written. You can identify a cultivar name by the fact that it is enclosed in single quotes. Double quotes indicate a descriptive name, but not an official cultivar. For example: D. muscipula 'Red Piranha' is an official cultivar name and it is put in singled quotes. However, D. muscipula "All Red Giant" is just a descriptive name for a particular plant that isn't an officially registered cultivar.

Propagating Cultivars

The preferred method to propagate most Dionaea muscipula cultivars is vegetatively. Because vegetative propagation results in plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant, this is the simplest way to ensure that the genetic integrity of the cultivar is retained. However, it is possible to propagate cultivars sexually from seed provided that the offspring do in fact retain the characteristics as they are described in the cultivar registration. This is why it is important to have a very good description of a cultivar so that it is possible to be sure that the seed-grown offspring do exhibit the exact characteristics required to be considered the same cultivar as the parent plant.

Venus Fly Trap Cultivars

I have created a comprehensive list of all registered Venus Fly Trap cultivars. The International Carnivorous Plant Society has a list here, and the most current listing of Dionaea muscipula cultivars is kept in the Carnivorous Plant Database here, and as of February 16, 2009, they are both up to date.

To see as good of a list of Venus flytrap cultivars as I can find on the web, be sure to see my list of Venus Fly Trap cultivated varieties.

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  • Guest - Maddie

    :D i loved this website and it gave a lot of useful information about my dying venus fly trap. if you av any exta info on how to treat the dying ones that would be greatly appreciated! thank you so much

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  • Maddie,<br /><br />I'm glad you found the website useful! The way to treat a dying plant is highly dependent on what is wrong with it. A few good things to do are repot, use only distilled water for watering it, and putting it in a very sunny location.<br /><br />However, if insects or fungus have made the plant sick, then you'll have to treat those problems accordingly (with insecticides or fungicides).<br /><br />If you need help diagnosing your plant's sickness, you should join the forum and ask there!<br /><br />Matt

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  • I've noticed Cross Teeth isn't a registered cultivar yet..<br />Although he has pretty distinct characteristics imo.<br />Any thoughts?

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  • I think that either "Cross Teeth" or "Long Red Fingers" will be a registered cultivar someday. I agree that they are worthy of cultivar status. They are definitely unique enough. There are other plants that I think are unique enough also, such as "Cudo".

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  • this website helped my with one of my dying fly traps by then i put it in a terrerium with miracle gro peat moss then it died nd now my butterwort is declining in health in the terrerium y is that

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  • To "terrerium" -- You shouldn't grow Venus Flytraps in a terrarium (check the FlytrapCare Forum for all the reasons why) and you shouldn't use Miracle-Gro peat moss (check the FlytrapCare Forum for the reasons why).

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  • Guest - doug barr

    I found this website about venus flytrap very informative. But howcome there is so little about their main selling-point; how often do they eat flies, both in nature, or how often should they be fed flies when grown at home?? How many flies does it eat compared to, for instance, a cobra lily, which is filled with dead files when you check it? I have been told that a venus flytrap can live without ever eating a fly!! Why would a plant go to all the trouble of evolving, over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, a mouth, which is also about the entire plants physical make-up, a mouth that can eat and digest insects for its nutrition, why would it go to the trouble of evolving like that if it didnt even need to eat in the first place??? Thats what I would like to know

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