How to Grow
The Venus Flytrap

The Venus Flytrap Care Guide at FlytrapRanch.com

Named Venus Flytrap Clones

There are hundreds of Venus Flytraps that have been named. Some of these Venus Flytraps are distinct and important and worthy of a name, while many others are either very similar to previously named clones (more information about clones), misnamed (one plant being misrepresented as another), names misapplied to seedlings which are genetically diverse, or "vanity names" given to Venus Flytraps by their owners for the sake of making the plants seem special, when most of them are either within the normal range of genetic characteristics of typical Venus Flytraps, or exhibit a characteristic that, while perhaps unusual in the experience of the plant's grower, is nonetheless exhibited by a large number of other Venus Flytraps under certain conditions.

The practice of naming certain Venus Flytrap clones is important for distinguishing genetically unique plants from one another, but has become confused and complicated by several factors, including the fact that there are two major categories of named Venus Flytraps: named clones, which are copies of genetically unique Venus Flytraps, and the plants listed in the cultivar system, an official registry of Venus Flytraps and other carnivorous plants administered and maintained by the International Carnivorous Plant Society.

Coquillage Venus Flytrap
Coquillage Venus Flytrap clone

Cultivar Naming System

Official "cultivars" are named based on specific, formally described physical characteristics that can be observed, like color and form, but do not require that two plants be genetically identical to merit the same name. This is a problem and creates confusion. If the cultivar description lists several characteristics that are observed in genetically different Venus Flytraps, both can be called by the same name even though they are different and other characteristics of the plant vary. For example, if trap size is not listed among the characteristics necessary for that particular cultivar name, one plant might develop very large traps while another might have small traps. While both plants might qualify for the same official cultivar name, it can lead to plants being misrepresented, distributed and sold that are not a clone or division of the original plant for which the cultivar name was created. This is a flaw of the official cultivar naming system, and one reason for a greater focus upon named Venus Flytrap clones instead of official Venus Flytrap cultivars, because the named clones are (ideally, if they are not misrepresented) genetically identical to each other and to their parent plant. No one would want to buy a world-famous, very-large-trapped "B52" Venus Flytrap that was not genetically identical to the original B52, for example, but such a thing is possible (and allowed, though probably discouraged) under the official cultivar system.

B52 Venus Flytrap
B52, a Venus Flytrap famous for its very large traps

Because nearly everyone wants their plant to be special, named Venus Flytraps have become very popular and common, but are also confusing and problematic. There are certain named Venus Flytraps that have proven they deserve a name to distinguish them from other plants, while many other named Venus Flytraps have appeared and disappeared as those who grew them realized that the Venus Flytrap was not really so special, or that the characteristic for which it was named does not appear in the plant very often, or appears under similar circumstances in a wide variety of Venus Flytraps.

Long Red Fingers Venus Flytrap
Long Red Fingers, a smallish but very interesting Venus Flytrap clone

The named clones "Banded" and "Red Line" are examples of one of the problems. Both were named for the same characteristic, a striking, broad red-colored line that appeared just below the marginal spines (the "teeth") on the outside of the plants' traps. However, many Venus Flytraps produce this striking coloration under some circumstances, and some Venus Flytraps do so more often than either the Banded or Red Line Venus Flytrap clones. As a result, Banded and Red Line are no longer nearly as popular nor widely grown as they once were. "Fused Tooth" and "Fuzzy Tooth" are are two named clones which are virtually identical in growth and appearance. Although Fuzzy Tooth is supposedly "even more fused than Fused Tooth", that claim is not supported (not observable) when growing the two Venus Flytraps side by side. Fused Tooth was the first of the two to be named, and is recommended for that reason.

Fused Tooth Venus Flytrap
Fused Tooth Venus Flytrap

Naming Venus Flytraps can also be problematic for other reasons. As the first decade of the 2000's came to a close, a Venus Flytrap appeared called "Big Jaws". People were excited about the prospect of having a plant with very large traps, and "Big Jaws" was widely sold and distributed. However, these "Big Jaws" Venus Flytraps were not a clone or division the original, genetically unique plant that had been named Big Jaws by its owner and grower. Instead, the Venus Flytraps being circulated and sold as Big Jaws were really laboratory-grown seedlings from a self-pollination of the original Big Jaws plant, which means that each seedling was genetically different from all other "Big Jaws" seedlings and different from the original Big Jaws parent plant. Some had short "teeth" (marginal spines) while others had long teeth. Most had average-sized traps, not large ones. The only legitimate "Big Jaws" plants would have been the natural divisions of the original Venus Flytrap named Big Jaws or tissue-cultured copies of the plant, but those were not available, so none of the large number of plants sold as Big Jaws were actually Big Jaws. Most were ordinary-looking Venus Flytraps that should have been sold as "typicals" (a generic term to indicate plants displaying characteristics similar to Venus Flytraps growing in their natural habitat).

Named Venus Flytraps come and go as people excitedly name their plants and as others grow them to see if they prove worthy of a name and continued propagation over time. Despite the occasional confusion regarding named Venus Flytraps, most reputable sources of Venus Flytraps strive to sell or distribute only Venus Flytraps that are genetically identical to the original named plant.

FTS Maroon Monster Venus Flytrap
FTS Maroon Monster, a superior red leafed Venus Flytrap

A Note About Fake (Misnamed) Venus Flytrap Clones

Over the years several fake Venus Flytrap clones have appeared in the market. In some cases, so many of some of these apparently intentionally misnamed or misrepresented clones have been sold or traded that the original clone for which the name was created is hard to find.

The Low Giant and Vigorous Venus Flytrap clones are examples. The original Low Giant was a plant that had wide and sturdy but relatively short leaves, very large traps (rivalling B52 and other "giant" Venus Flytraps) and prostrate growth year round (prostrate growth means leaves that grow horizontally, not more upright as most Venus Flytraps grow during the summer months). However, the market has been flooded with a "Low Giant" from Europe, exported to the United States and elsewhere in sterile tissue culture containers (one of the few ways to legally ship live Venus Flytraps between countries), that is obviously not the original Low Giant, having neither large traps nor prostrate growth.

The original Vigorous Venus Flytrap clone was among the largest Venus Flytrap clones ever distributed, having very large traps and capable of attaining a leafspan (diameter) of over 10 inches (25 centimeters) in a mature plant, with wide, thick leaves. The fake "Vigorous," also originating in Europe, is a plant that has average sized leaves and traps, and tends to divide freely into clumps of smaller plants rather than grow into large, mature individual plants.

One can only speculate as to the reasons these and other fake Venus Flytrap clones have appeared. Perhaps a high demand but low supply for a particular clone in a certain region of the world, coupled with the desire to make some money, caused someone to sell a plant under another plant's name. Whatever the reason, it's important to be aware that such fake (misnamed) Venus Flytrap clones do exist.

Korean Melody Shark Venus Flytrap
Korean Melody Shark Venus Flytrap, with thin petioles consisting of only the central midrib with no flanges. This plant is about 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) tall

Not Recommended

Note— The recommendations above are based on my own experience growing the Venus Flytrap clones listed. Other growers' opinions might vary.

Stephen Doonan, FlytrapRanch.com