April Meeting — Richard Jones and the Venus Flytrap

Monday, April 15, 2019  –  7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019, at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our program this month will be presented by Richard Jones, who is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to grow Venus Flytraps.  Richard will talk about the history and biology of our most famous native plant.

While it’s against the law to remove or poach Venus Flytraps from the wild, Richard Jones has gotten permission to legally harvest seeds to grow and sell the plant. He is licensed to grow the plants by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s endangered species division and is inspected on a regular basis.

“The requirements are that they be farm-raised and I do grow from seed,” Jones explained. “I produce the seed myself. It is all done in house and I have done it that way for many years.”

“It is not so much hard as it is slow,” Jones says. “For the first two or three years, they are just so tiny, they are just little pin-pricks of chlorophyll, and then for the third and certainly by the fourth year, you get a growing spurt. But up until that time, they just have to be protected from any kind of physical damage, or drying out, it is a slow, slow process.”

Jones sells the carnivorous plants at farmer’s markets but he likes to point out that this is the only place in the world that a Venus Flytrap will naturally occur. “About a 90-mile radius of Wilmington is it, for the world, and that makes people look at them in a new light very, very often, over and above just how magical it is to watch a plant catch an insect.”

While the majority of his plants are Venus Flytraps, Jones also sells pitcher plants, another carnivorous plant. He said they are not as regulated as the Flytraps.”

Photos: Venus Flytraps – StarNewsOnline

Venus Flytrap–Dobbs’ “Catch Fly”

On April 2, 1759, Governor Arthur Dobbs penned a letter to his naturalist friend in England, Peter Collinson. His words are the first written about the Venus Flytrap: “We have a kind of Catch Fly sensitive which closes upon anything that touches it, it grows in the Latitude 34 but not in 35°– I will try to save the seed here.”