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Habitats of Dionaea muscipula (Venus' Fly Trap), Droseraceae, Associated with Carolina Bays

James O. Luken
Southeastern Naturalist
Vol. 4, No. 4 (2005), pp. 573-584
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3878224
Page Count: 12
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Habitats of Dionaea muscipula (Venus' Fly Trap), Droseraceae, Associated with Carolina Bays
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Abstract

Dionaea muscipula (Venus' fly trap) is endemic to a restricted area of the Carolina's Coastal Plain, including southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. Our understanding of Venus' fly trap habitats is based largely on a single published study focused on plants associated with pocosins in North Carolina. Little is known about Venus' fly trap habitats or microhabitats in other parts of the endemic range. This paper presents data on Venus' fly traps at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, SC, an area where the species occurs at the ecotone between Carolina bays and adjacent plant communities. Complex microtopography including hummocks, hollows, and Sphagnum carpets, was common at this ecotone. Venus' fly trap seedlings were overrepresented in hollows; adult plants were overrepresented on Sphagnum. No vascular plant species were consistently associated with Venus' fly traps growing at the ecotone. However, areas downslope, relatively closer to bays, and areas upslope, relatively farther from bays, were associated with indicator species, presumably reflecting an underlying moisture gradient. Areas with Venus' fly traps were characterized by relatively high plant diversity, high Sphagnum cover, low total vascular plant cover, and soil disturbance associated with old vehicle tracks. Small, persistent openings in the shrub layer and soil disturbances that facilitate Sphagnum colonization may be important for maintaining populations of Venus' fly traps at the ecotone between Carolina bays and adjacent plant communities.

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