Carnivorous Plants Website
Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness
by Makoto Honda


2018-09-03   Venus Flytrap Germination - The Very First Trap After Cotyledons

Venus Flytrap Germination - Seedling (Infrared Laser)

2018-September-03. Nikon D300, Macro Topcor 58mm F3.5 with extension, at f/11 at 1/4 sec (daylight) with an
infrared laser.

Venus flytrap seedling, one-month old. High-power laser application to reverse the snap-trap evolution - just kidding.

The very first trap is about to open - in a day or so.
Two more trap leaves developing from the rosette center.
The Venus flytrap is very slow-growing. It took a month to reach this point.

Trying to see if I can observe anything which might reveal the process of evolution
- how this snap-trap had evolved out of Drosera regia ... or whatever.

The slight tilt of the trap portion to the right is noticeable.
Exactly the same tilt clearly manifests in the adult Aldrovanda traps, as noted by F. E. Lloyd (1942).
Lloyd comments that this is advantageous to Aldrovanda but no benefit for Dionaea.
Lloyd did not comment on the evolutionary context of this tendency.

To me, this is a very clear evidence that Dionaea came from Aldrovanda.
"The theory of recapitulation."
This "trap-tilting" trait acquired in the ancestor of Aldrovanda, which is evidently critically useful in prey trapping,
is carried over to Dionaea, at least in its embryonic (and juvenile and/or adult) stage.

Along with preponderance of other evidence,
we can judiciously conjecture that the extant land plant, the Venus flytrap,
descended from an ancient aquatic plant, the common ancestor of Dionaea and Aldrovanda.

The snap-trap evolution, which occurred only once in the history of angiosperms on earth,
took place under the evolutionary pressure in the process of transition into an aquatic environment.

This aquatic common ancestor (still possessing the "root", by the way)
must have developed this trap-tilt posture in the water,
which is a definite advantage in prey capture for the stuck-up foliage arrangement
as we see in the extant Aldrovanda.

The ancestor of Dionaea then branched out from this common ancestor some 50 million years ago (give or take),
taking the snap-trap out of the water and to the land...
"Oh, men, this works pretty well in the air too!"


Venus Flytrap Germination - Seedling: "Please come back in two weeks - when I am ready."