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Carnivorous Plants at Carolina Beach

posted May 9, 2017, 1:21 PM by Justin P   [ updated May 15, 2017, 4:10 PM ]

I left Raleigh after work on Friday and drove down to the beach to camp at Carolina Beach State Park.  I arrived around 330 and it didn't appear anyone else had arrived yet, so I did a short hike along the Flytrap Trail, hoping to spot some carnivorous plants.

I didn't find any, but did spot some pretty orange flowers starting to bloom.

As I finished up the loop, I saw Keith arrive and we got our stuff together to backpack the short distance to Group Campsite 2.  Turns out that site 1 was occupied, but not by campers.  Filming was being performed for TNT's Good Behavior, and the film crew left their stuff at site 1.  Security guards would be patrolling throughout the evening and requested we stay in our campsite.  After getting set up, Keith and I headed along the Swamp Trail to Sugarloaf Trail and then up the massive sand dune.  With strong winds, there were big waves along Cape Fear River and it appeared more like the ocean.

Keith told me a story about his great-great-grandfather who was a confederate private in the Civil War, stationed at Fort Fisher.  Near the end of the war, he was shot and taken prisoner to New Jersey.  He miraculously survived and was allowed to return home after the war.  We started making our way back and Keith was determined to find some flytraps.  We headed back to Flytrap Trail and got off the trail a short ways.  And sure enough, Keith found some Venus flytraps.

They're very small and close to the ground so you really have to look for them.  I got a couple macro shots and couldn't help but think of "Feed me Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors.

These carnivorous plants would need to grow a bit before they could eat humans though.  A few of them were flowering, though the flower is much less impressive than the leaves.

A little further on the trail, we found some pitcher plants.  They were in the swampy area, so probably safe from the poaching that has greatly reduced the number of flytraps in the area.

There were even some prickly pear cacti growing here, not something I would expect to see at the beach!

Keith headed back to camp and I ran into town to get some dinner then headed back to camp.  A few more people had arrived and we took an evening walk to Good Hops Brewery for some beers.  It's right outside the park, so a perfect spot to have a couple drinks while camping since alcohol is prohibited in state parks.  After a few beers, we headed back to camp and made a nice bonfire before retiring for the evening.