Lyoyd Loope (halesci@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu)
Sun, 22 May 1994 11:40:45 -1000 (HST)

> =>Please be aware that almost all of the Venus Fly Traps in commerce are
> =>wild-gathered. This results in many plants dying before reaching consumers,
> =>and in devastation of natural bog habitats, both from removal of native
> =>plants and from trampling by collectors.
> =>
> =>There are one or two growers who are producing fly traps and other bog
> =>plants by tissue culture. Their plants are more expensve and definitely NOT
> =>the kind you buy for $5 at Woolworths. Please do not buy any rare plants
> =>when you do not know exactly how they were grown and NEVER buy wild-
> =>collected plants...

Thanks, Patrick, for the cc:

Anyone who has visited VFT native sites can tell you about the "little
holes" in the ground which are "everywhere"... where collectors, mostly
commercial, dig up these incredibly special plants, as well as many other
CP species. It is definitely a tragedy... many of the actual "laborers"
are (or have historically been, and I can't imagine it has changed) poor
local folk who get only pennies apiece for the plants. So, you can see
that it's much cheaper for unscrupulous dealers to purchase these plants
than for them to "go to all the trouble and expense to propagate them."
The taxon is now protected in the U.S. as a Threatened species under the
endangered species act... I'm not sure exactly what protection this
affords plants on private land, but it DOES make it illegal to sell
field-collected plants. Unfortunately, as in many natural areas,
enforcement is hard to come by, because of the vast and inaccessible
areas for rangers to cover, the lack of knowledge about the nature and
importance of the offenses, and the fact that often (at least
historically) if folks are caught and convicted, the fines are quickly
recouped by a few more days' diligence of flytrap collection. (Even
though the price per plant is very low, it's incredible how many traps a
"skilled collector" can come up with in a short time... I've seen their
"booty" first-hand.)

So... to help the situation... can anyone out there supply information,
particularly first-hand, about what they know about the SOURCES of the
current commercial sources?