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Venus Flytrap: Classification & Anatomy

Venus Flytrap: Classification & Anatomy
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  • 0:04 Carnivorous Plants
  • 0:38 Classification
  • 1:49 Anatomy: The Plant
  • 2:38 Anatomy: The Traps
  • 3:31 Anatomy: The Flower
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lauren Posey

Lauren has taught intermediate reading in an English Language Institute, and she has her Master's degree in Linguistics.

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 plants, which are meat-eating plants that catch insects. One of these is the Venus flytrap. 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!

Classification

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: Plantae
  • Phylum: 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: Caryophyllales
  • Family: 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.

Anatomy: The Plant

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 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's 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.

Anatomy: 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!

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