Friday, 24 July 2015


From H’s parents, I received a Venus Flytrap to care for. Although I think we both have been blessed with green-thumbs, I understand that these plants are notoriously hard to care for, and I tried once before but I think I ended up over-feeding the delicate thing, so I’ve embarked on a course of study to improve its chances. I located a very good and comprehensive resource here and will take these lessons to heart, but there’s a pretty interesting story behind these not wholly sessile plants as well. Their native habitat is restricted to marshes in the Carolinas though propagated by fanciers all over the world—with varying success—and after devising the Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin didn’t exactly call it a day but devoted his attention to the subject of locomotion in these plants—the mechanism and adaptive cultivation still something of a mystery.
And despite their very alien appearance, the plant’s name does not have anything to do with the planet Venus, rather it is the chomping jaws that suggest the clam from which the goddess was birthed. Although adjectival just Venus would, as before science saw the need for terms like Venusian, Martian or Earthling, things pertaining to Venus were unfortunately described as venereal, as Mars was martial. An old-fashioned adjective that’s rarely seen since we have Venusian—to avoid other connotations—comes from the island Cythera in the Ionian archipelago, near where the sea-shell emerged from the sea, buoying up the goddess. Curiously, the plant’s taxonomical name Dionaea muscipula, a daughter of Dione (namely the Greek counterpart Aphrodite) and “mousetrap.”