Botanical Garden Programs: Reading Plants
Venus Flytrap Terrariums as a Study of Plant Adaptations
In preparation for a school visit to the Huntington Botanical Gardens’ Reading Plants
tour, we will investigate the interesting adaptations of Venus Flytraps through the
creation of a small classroom terrarium.
♦ To encourage the exploration of plant structure in order to learn about
adaptation in different climates and environments.
Plant Adaptations and Venus Flytraps
During your visit to the Huntington Botanical Gardens, your class will visit
three different gardens: the Desert Garden, Lily Pond Garden, and the Jungle
Garden. Each of these gardens represents a distinct ecosystem, where plants are
adapted to the unique conditions of their local environment, from the arid and sunny
climate of the Desert Garden, to the wet and shady Jungle Garden. We can learn a lot
about a plant’s survival in its environment by examining its shape, size, and structure.
Depending on the light and water available in their environment, plants have
developed special adaptations over many generations. The spines on cactus are
modified leaves, so that while they can harness the sun’s energy in photosynthesis,
their small shape helps prevent water loss in dry, desert climates. Meanwhile, in a rain
forest environment, plants often have extremely large leaves to maximize the sunlight
they can capture from the shady forest floor. Venus Flytraps are particularly revealing
plants, as they are uniquely adapted to their nutrient-poor bog environment. In their
native environment, Venus Flytraps don’t receive the nutrients (primarily nitrogen)
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