Want to impress people with that brain of yours? Drop this little known fact: The Venus Fly Trap(Dionaea muscipula) grows exclusively in a 60 mile circle near Wilmington, North Carolina. And when I say exclusively, I mean on this entire planet.
That’s right. These little carnivorous plants are endemic to a small patch of coastal wetlands and gorgeous pine savanna that I explored for a few days. The goal was to find some of these endangered and hard to find plants; dig them up and sell them for profit.
Not really, I just wanted to see if I could find some.
So what is a pine savanna? It’s a nitrogen poor wetland, covered in grasses and various tall pine species. The trees are naturally spaced to feel park-like by fires. The forest fires are what regulate and keep a pine savanna healthy and allow understory flora to grow. Flora like the venus fly trap.
The pine savanna has some straight up swamps spread throughout and this is where you find the fly traps. I found myself wading through some half mile patches of stuff like this:
Just get to the plants! Where’s the fly traps?!
After exiting one of the swamp areas I came across a dry(ish) section that was covered by low grasses. It looked pretty similar to all of the photos I had studied of the fly traps habitat. There are no wooden signs pointing to these endangered plants. They are routinely dug up and sold on the black market and the native population is protected and dwindling fast. It is actually a felony to be caught with harvested venus fly traps.
Putting down my gear I started crawling around with my face pushed into the muddy grass. I had very little hopes of actually finding these things in the wild, but you gotta give it a shot… Within a few minutes a little red patch showed itself. Holy shit! I found some venus fly traps.
The little red tentacle plants next to the fly traps are called Sundews, another carnivorous plant.
And for sticking around to the end, here is some bonus footage. Trick flying the drone under the canopy and between the trees in the pine savanna: