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 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, 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, 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
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, 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, with thin petioles consisting of only the central midrib with no flanges. This plant is about 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) tall
Recommended Venus Flytraps
- "Typical" – A "typical" Venus Flytrap is a plant with similar characteristics to most of those that grow in nature. It is a great, inexpensive beginner's choice.
- Seed Grown – Seed-grown Venus Flytraps are not very commonly sold because it takes 3-4 years for a Venus Flytrap to grow from seed to maturity. However, each seed-grown Venus Flytrap is different, genetically unique, unlike the named clones. It's relatively easy for anyone with a little previous experience with carnivorous plants to grow Venus Flytraps from seed.
- SD Kronos – Prostrate growth year-round, large traps, vigorous growth, well-developed rhizomes; the best Venus Flytrap from the Flytrap Ranch breeding program. A superior, highly-recommended Venus Flytrap.
- B52 – Known for occasional large traps.
- A2 – The lesser known sibling of B52 (same parents); a very fine large-trapped Venus Flytrap.
- Dutch Delight – one of the annual winners of the Dutch "best Venus Flytrap" award; a large, vigorous growing plant with very large traps.
- Fine Tooth x Red – One of the best standard Venus Flytraps with large traps, deep coloration and a robust appearance and growth habit.
- Long Red Fingers – A small but very colorful and interesting Venus Flytrap with partially fused marginal spines and often a rose-orange color inside the traps and vivid red "teeth".
- FTS Maroon Monster – One of the best red-leaved Venus Flytraps. The leaves of red Venus Flytraps produce more of the organic red dye anthocyanin than the green-leaved Venus Flytraps.
- Royal Red – Another red-leafed clone, older (bred and named sooner) than FTS Maroon Monster, with red inside and outside the traps, and with a contrasting lime-green stripe at the margins of the traps; a beautiful Venus Flytrap clone.
- Fused Tooth – The marginal spines of Fused Tooth are fused together irregularly, creating a unique look. The fusing becomes more dramatic as the growing season progresses.
- Jaws – Often one of the most colorful Venus Flytraps in a collection; short, vicious looking "teeth" and large traps; do not confuse Jaws with "Big Jaws" (see discussion of Big Jaws above). Jaws is a highly desirable Venus Flytrap, "Big Jaws" is not.
- Low Giant – A prostrate growing plant (the leaves grow horizontally, not more upright, even during summer when most Venus Flytraps grow more upright) with very large traps. A superior and often very colorful Venus Flytrap. Grower's note— There is another, inferior Venus Flytrap called "Low Giant" that originated in Europe and has now been distributed in the United States and elsewhere. This European "Low Giant" is neither low nor giant; that is to say, it does not have year-round prostrate growth, and the traps are only average size. I speculate that at one time there was a demand for the real Low Giant clone in Europe before it was readily available, and someone saw an opportunity to exploit the situation by selling or trading one of their plants as "Low Giant." I've grown both plants (Low Giant and the European fake Low Giant) side by side to observe the differences: the authentic Low Giant is a very nice Venus Flytrap clone, while the fake European "Low Giant" is just an average Venus Flytrap, no better than a so-called "typical" Venus Flytrap.
- Sawtooth – A robust, very-short-toothed Venus Flytrap; the traps have a ragged edge and often orange-red coloration.
- Bristletooth – Much like Sawtooth, but often with a more intense red coloration inside the traps. Different enough from Sawtooth to deserve its own name, and a fine Venus Flytrap.
- Coquillage – This Venus Flytrap clone tends to be fairly small, but it is interesting and unusual with thick, shell-like traps edged with very short but sturdy "teeth" that point inward rather than upward (are oriented more at a right angle to the blade of the trap). Coquillage looks very menacing and is adept at capturing prey.
- Akai Ryu (Red Dragon) – One of the first red-leafed Venus Flytraps, important historically and for breeding stock, very popular for a while, but tends to be spindly, not very vigorous (doesn't grow very fast) and often divides more than it produces large, mature plants. Alternative clones Royal Red and FTS Maroon Monster, both bred and developed after Akai Ryu, are better red leafed Venus Flytraps.
- Red Piranha – A short-toothed red-leafed Venus Flytrap, Red Piranha has the same drawbacks as Akai Ryu (above). Although there are not many alternatives within the short-toothed, red-leafed category of Venus Flytraps, FTS Crimson Sawtooth is a more attractive and more vigorous plant, although it tends to place an emphasis on dividing more often than producing large, mature plants (like Akai Ryu does).
- Triffid Traps – This Venus Flytrap clone is very vigorous, divides rapidly and produces many plants. It has a nice growth habit and form, but the individual plants are often no more impressive for any particular characteristic than "typical" Venus Flytraps (see description of "typical" above), and there are many clones that are more colorful or have larger traps with equally vigorous growth.
- Any variegated Venus Flytrap – Venus Flytraps with irregular spots, streaks or splotches of color in the traps or on the leaves, while interesting and attractive in a way, are likely to be infected with a plant virus which might potentially spread and infect other plants in your collection. These include "Patches," "Spotty," "Charlie Mandon's Spotted" and others. From about 2005 forward, Venus Flytraps with irregular variegation have appeared with increasing frequency. All of these variegated Venus Flytraps are potentially or likely infected with a virus.
Note— The recommendations above are based on my own experience growing the Venus Flytrap clones listed. Other growers' opinions might vary.