Venus Flytraps

Venus FlytrapI’m often asked about our lives in North Carolina and it sounds banal to say that we moved here because it is very much like Suffolk but with its own quirks.
It’s the little things that matter and so our curiosity was piqued when we read in the local newspaper (News & Observer) that poaching Venus Flytrap plants has been a felony for nearly two years and that two plant-nappers were recently caught in the act and now have bail bonds set at $1,000,000 (c.£600,000) (a figure usually ascribed to murderers).
The plant is native to the subtropical wetlands of North Carolina. It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes.
In early November the sheriff’s deputies charged two men with taking 1,025 Venus flytraps from the Orton  Plantation along the Cape Fear River. The Plantation covers thousands of acres and is sufficiently wild that would-be thieves could be dropped off along the roadside and slip unseen into the woods. From there, they would dig all day on their knees, concealed by tall grasses.
In the current case, a staff member on the plantation spotted two men with a backpack and no reason to be on the private property. They were reported to a sheriff’s deputy and when the officers approached, the men ran across a grassy field. The officers then drove to the other end of the plantation and waited for the men to emerge. Once they saw the officers waiting, the men turned around and ran back to where they started. This apparently went on for some time like a scene from “O Brother Where Art Thou” until the men, exhausted, turned themselves into custody. The dog unit found the backpack along with a machete, which is frequently used as a flytrap-digging tool. All the recovered flytraps were replanted in Orton’s greenhouse.
It is apparently many a year since men could bumble around in the swamps undetected for long. And these particular woods, are known to contain alligators.
So all in all, it’s something that’s nice to know but definitely something to avoid.

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