The Dionaea is an extraordinary plant that particularly appeals to children. The fierce-looking, jaw-like leaf pads form an open ‘mouth’ which gapes to attract any insect that passes by. The jaw is activated by trigger hairs. If these are brushed by an insect on the leaf pad, two pads close and the spine-like extensions intermesh. The jaws then close around the doomed insect, which is digested by chemicals. It may be worth placing a jam or bell jar over the plant to improve the humidity, although this will have to be removed from time to time so the plant can catch insects.

Plant type : Prostrate novelty foliage plant
Season of interest : Spring and summer
Size : 4-10cm (1 1/2-4in)
Flower : Uninspiring, white, produced in early summer
Leaf : Elongated, split into two opposing pads, hinged at base with tooth-like extensions around edge, green
Temperature : 19-21'C (66—70°F)
Aspect/Light : Moderate to well-lit situation
Humidity : High
Watering : Keep compost constantly moist in spring and summer; keep on drier side when dormant; prefers rain-water
Feeding : Once every month with half strength houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer
Propagation : Separate root; sow seed in seed and cutting compost from late spring to early summer at 20-21°C (68—70°F)
Potting : Even mixture of sphagnum moss peat, sphagnum moss and leaf mould
Problems : No real problems
Availability : Quite commonly available throughout year, even when dormant; most common in spring and summer when in growth
Uses indoors : Appealing novelty plant for windowsill or situation close to window