Fascinating flower facts: the Venus Flytrap, the Rose and the Stinking Corpse Lily

Fascinating flower facts: the Venus Flytrap, the Rose and the Stinking Corpse Lily

A Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a magnificent carnivorous plant with hinged leaves edged with spikes. The inside of a Venus Flytrap is red and full of sweet and fragrant nectar, enticing flies and small aphids who think they have found a flower.

How does a Venus Flytrap catch a fly?

A Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a magnificent carnivorous plant with hinged leaves edged with spikes. The inside of a Venus Flytrap is red and full of sweet and fragrant nectar, enticing flies and small aphids and making them think they found a flower. If an insect lands on the leaf and stimulates a sensor hair twice within 20 seconds, the trap will snap shut. Since it requires two stimulation points in quick succession, a Venus flytrap doesn't waste energy trapping things it can't eat, like raindrops. Once the insect is trapped, the plant produces enzymes to digest it over several days. The leaf reopens once it has fed, ready to welcome its next meal. 

Venus Fly-trap. (Dionaea muscipula). A guide to the wild flowers, by Alice Lounsberry (1899)

Venus Fly-trap. (Dionaea muscipula). A guide to the wild flowers, by Alice Lounsberry (1899)

Where did roses come from?

For thousands of years roses have adorned people, decorated homes, and formed an essential part of celebrations and funerals. Five petal roses originate in China, and roses have been cultivated in Asia for over 5,000 years. Roses have been a popular flower in the Middle East, and throughout history, roses have been featured in food, medicine, art and decoration in the region. Ancient Egyptians loved roses and credited them with healing and aphrodisiac properties. Roman emperors Nero and Heliogabalus were so fond of roses they had remarkable ceilings installed in their palaces so rose petals could cascade onto diners below - some accounts allege the petals were so abundant they suffocated and killed unlucky guests.

The Roses of Heliogabalus is an 1888 painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Roses of Heliogabalus by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

What is the biggest flower in the world?

Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest individual flower in the world - measuring approximately one meter wide and weighing up to 11kg. The deep red flower only lasts for a few days and is also known as the Stinking Corpse Lily due to its pungent odour of decaying flesh. It is native to the Sumatran and Borneo rainforests and is one of the three national flowers of Indonesia. 

Rafflesia /.  London :Printed by Richard and Arthur Taylor,1821

Rafflesia, London: Printed by Richard and Arthur Taylor, 1821

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