Venus Flytrap flowering season is a prime season for poachers who want to steal the plants from their natural habitat.
Over the Memorial Day weekend in May, 2013, more than 1000 Venus Flytraps were stolen from the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden in North Carolina, U.S. This is in the heart of the Venus Flytrap’s native territory, a small region of coastal North and South Carolina. During the Venus Flytrap flowering season, often at its height in May, the bright white flowers make the Venus Flytraps easy for poachers to spot.
Links to news stories about this poaching–
- More than 1000 Rare Venus Flytraps Stolen
- Daughter of Carnivorous Plant Park Gardener Reacts to Venus Flytrap Theft
- Flytrap Thieves Steal Rare and Special North Carolina Plants
For those in the U.S. and Canada, please keep your eyes open for anyone selling Venus Flytraps who doesn’t seem like a long-term, reputable dealer. Whoever stole these natural-growing Venus Flytraps is going to want to sell them, so be alert to suspicious dealers at Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc., and if you see something suspicious, Stanley Rehder’s daughter, Julie Rehder, has asked to be notified. She’ll help local police authorities in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, in the heart of the Venus Flytrap’s very limited natural habitat, to try to catch this thief or thieves.
Anyone with information about the stolen plants is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department’s non-emergency line at (910) 343-3600 or send an anonymous text at: TIP708 and the message to CRIMES (274637).
Here is a quote sent out by Julie Rehder about this incident—
My name is Julie Rehder and I live I Wilmington, NC, native home to the Venus Flytrap. By looking at your website I can tell you are a knowledgeable and reputable dealer. I am reaching out to growers across the country to be on the lookout for a large amount of native Flytraps that were stolen from the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, a special preserve my father cultivated that is now part of the City of Wilmington’s Cross City Trail. About 1000 flowering plants were removed from the preserve over the last week seriously damaging what took about 30 years for my father to cultivate prior to his death at age 90 last October. The preserve is also home to five species of sarracenia plants as well as sundews.
The preserve was once a relatively secret bog formed from an old roadbed but when the NC Coastal Land Trust, which controls the easement, allowed the City of Wilmington to lease the space for community enjoyment but it opened up the area to more visibility and poaching. Knowledgeable poachers waited until the mature plants were in full bloom and removed them during the Memorial Day weekend. There is currently no security in the garden due to its proximity and the thieves had easy access in the dead of night. I am still pleased the City named the garden and created signage and overlooks for educational purposes but that joy is tempered by this very devastating loss. Fortunately this latest poaching event has created a community uproar and plans are being made for greater protection for the garden.
A reward will be announced soon but it is unlikely the perpetrators will be caught, especially if the plants were shipped or taken out of the area immediately after the theft. I am just trying to alert growers who may hear of advertisements for flowering native plants. You may contact me or the Wilmington, NC Police Department tip line if you hear of any online or person to person offers of sale of native flowering Venus Flytraps.
Our local community college will be aiding in replanting the area through tissue culturing and the collection of seed from the remaining plants but it will take years to restore the preserve.
I am always glad to see websites for cultured and seed grown Flytraps and enjoy knowing that the rest of the world is fascinated by my area’s local treasure.
Thank you for reading this long email and good luck in your own growing efforts.