Killer Instincts (Nature Conservancy Magazine)
On January 24, 1760, Arthur Dobbs, the colonial governor of North Carolina and an amateur scientist, sent a letter to an esteemed botanist in London regarding “the great wonder of the vegetable kingdom.”
Found in the swamps of southeastern North Carolina and northern South Carolina, the dwarf plant that Dobbs marveled at bore white, star-shaped flowers. But its most remarkable feature was the plant’s paired concave leaves, which folded shut like a set of jaws.
“Upon any thing touching the leaves or falling between them,” Dobbs wrote in the first known description of this species, “they instantly close like a spring trap, and confine any insect or any thing that falls between them.” Considering the diminutive size of the plant’s potential victims, Dobbs christened it a “flytrap.” The Venus’ flytrap would be the first carnivorous plant recognized in the world, upturning the food chain and astounding the scientific community.
Read the rest at Nature Conservancy