Carnivorous Plants/Venus Flytraps

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Question
QUESTION: As you can tell this is my first time growing anything from seeds
I was adding a little water today and dunno if I never noticed 2 very small white spots in the media were I think I dropped seeds,they are so small ad the same color as the peat I forget where some seeds went lol !

My question is do these seeds turn white before they sprout or after? I also noticed some green moss starting to grow but an sure there are no seed there and was told this is not a threat if seeds are indeed there they will get through the moss.

ANSWER: Hello Dennis,

Drosera seeds do not change color. When the seeds sprout, the seedlings should have bright green sprouts that will form tiny, round, tentacle covered, leaves. Hopefully the white spots are not fungus. You can treat fungus with Neem oil or other fungicides so long as they are not soap based. Usually copper based fungicide is preferable. You might want to use a magnifying lens to determine if the white spots are fungus or not. They may be other plant material or possibly tiny roots growing down from the sprouting seeds. If you think it is fungus, use fungicide as directed on the bottle. Fungus can become a major problem since it can attack seeds and seedlings before they have a chance to grow.

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QUESTION: Do VFT's have a memory or intelligence because it a insect hits a trigger hair flying away it does not close but if the same insect hit 2 trigger hairs its game over for the insect How does it tell if a hair or 2 are touched?

Answer
Hello Dennis,

Venus Flytraps do not have a central nervous system nd do not really have "intelligence" or "active memory," however; the term memory can be applied to the trigger mechanism to some extent.

In effect, the trigger mechanism is kind of like a bear trap in that it requires enough force on the triggers to cause the tension in the trap sides to snap shut. Since it requires more than one touch on the triggers, either two or more touches on one trigger or one touch on two or more triggers, the plant has a simple system that prepares the leaf for rapid growth "movement". Every time a trigger is touched, it releases an electrical signal. It usually takes two stimulations of a trigger to build up enough of an electrical charge release to pass the threshold of stimulation. It is set up with a threshold so that a single stimulation usually does not cause the plant leaf to react. This informs the plant that something alive and constantly moving is probably in the leaf and causes enough stimulation to cause a rapid growth in the cells along the outer walls of the leaf. Making the leaf appear to move.

For more informative and extensive detail, you can try this website. They have a well detailed step by step explanation of how and why the Venus Flytrap works the way it does.

http://www.flytrapcare.com/trapping-mechanism-of-a-venus-flytrap.html  

Carnivorous Plants

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Christopher Littrell

Expertise

I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.

Experience

I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

Education/Credentials
I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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