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Natural range

Posted by garyfla 10 Florida (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 9, 07 at 6:56

Anyone know what is the limiting factor on the range of the VFT?? Interesting how a plant so adaptable to extreme conditions couldn't adapt to other conditions.
Anyone know of any info on this subject?? gary

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Natural range

Hello Garyfla,

The Venus Flytrap is actually a specialist among specialists as it lives in only a 90 mile area in North Carolina zone 8. Temperature range is about 20-100 degrees Fahrenheit, soil is acidic (4-7 on Ph scale), peat bog with constant water table, full sun.

Specialists adapted to an extreme condition (like Polar Bears adapted to hunting on ice, but are woefully inadequate at finding food when the ice melts), then become unable to adapt to general conditions that do not meet their specific needs.

RE: Natural range

That makes the adaption even more remarkable. Since they adapted a unique way to provide nitrogen in an almost sterile environment.Other plants use a similar technoque but definitely not as dramatic lol
Interesting that they would go to such extremes to adapt
but limited their range .
Whatever would cause the adaptation in the first place must be unique to that area. As there are bogs ,swamps sloughs and what have you all over the world with vfar more amendable climates.
They almost adapted themselves to extinction lol Thanks gary

RE: Natural range

What makes it even more incredible is that the Venus Flytrap either branched off when Pangaea (the single supercontinent) existed 250 million years ago or the seeds of its closest cousin, thought to be the sundew Drosera regia were somehow brought to North America from Africa by birds or other forces. Then it mutated to no longer use glue to trap prey and evolved fast growing leaves to close on prey instead of slower moving tentacles. In all, the Flytrap is just a specialized mutant that seemingly found a limited place for itself. As you mentioned, that is the way natural selection works with specialists when the environment changes.

RE: Natural range

That's interesting,I'd never heard of any attempts to trace the lineage of VFT. Whatever the gene that caused the mutation must have been a dead end for some reason.. Apparently they are not nearly as well adapted as other CP.
Had no idea flowering plants were any where near that old let alone carniverous species of course you'll never find a fossil in that environment..
But you would think that the genetic deviation would have happened in other species. Like orchids or ferns. Since they seem to have the most speciation by far.
thanks gary

RE: Natural range

Actually, it is far more likely that the seeds were brought over since angiosperms are thought to have developed 130 million years go (as you indicated that angiosperms had probably not evolved 250 million years ago). Either that or Venus Flytraps and Drosera regia are merely genetic flukes in being close enough of a match to cross pollinate, the resulting hybrid does not survive for more than a couple of weeks though.

Venus flytraps are actually very well adapted to the one bog they evolved in, just like polar bears are very well adapted to polar ice caps. It is just that they are not as adaptable to different types of soil. They are temperature hardy and can adapt to most humidity levels. It would be kind of like H. G. Wells War of the Worlds story in which the alien invaders had no concept of disease, so could not take measures against, nor resist, the common cold. Venus Flytraps simply adapted so well to one environ that they have no resistance to allow for easy adaptation to fertilization and various chemicals it has not reason to be adaptive to. Many other plants would have a hard time living where Venus Flytraps do.

This link might give you some general info.

There are several branches of carnivorous plants that evolved along major lines of common angiosperm families and divided off from them. Venus flytraps are in the same order as spinach, cabbage, and bouganvilla and even farther off they are distantly related to magnolias as all the sundews are. When you go back far enough in the family tree of Venus Flytraps and Orchids, they are actually related along the Division classification as magnoliophyta, so they are extremely distantly related.

RE: Natural range

Ah the wonders of Thanks for the info. You'd think some adventurous botanist would be doing some DNA referencing to see who this unique species is related
Maybe somebody is ,would sure like to read the results

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