Date: July 2015
Place: Oslo, Norway

I have met these cute but carnivorous little “smiles” in the Botanical Garden in Oslo, Norway. However, they are not native in this cold country, as their origins lie in the subtropical wetlands of the North America.
These “smiles” are actually the leaves of a very peculiar carnivorous plant called the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). The leaves form clever snap traps that help the plant capture and then digest small insects and arachnids. The trap closes only when the trigger hairs inside are touched twice in rapid succession, thus avoiding unnecessary movements that could have been caused by dust and other particles falling on the lobes of the trap. The speed of closing of the lobes when triggered is about one-tenth of a second. When closed, the trap creates some sort of a hermetically sealed “stomach” that digests its prey for about ten days. After that the trap opens up again and is ready for the next unlucky bug.
Venus flytrap is the most popular cultivated carnivorous plant. It is being sold worldwide as houseplant. Sometimes it is also used in herbal medicine.

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