Almost 90% of the rare Venus Flytraps growing in the city’s new Alderman Park have been stolen, according to the City’s Parks Division.
Parks staff report that well over 1,000 of the plants now in bloom have been dug up over the last few weeks and little remains to generate seeds for future replanting. The most recent thefts occurred this week. With a price tag of about $20 each, the stolen plants are valued at $20,000.
With a grand opening in April, Alderman Park, located next to Alderman Elementary School, is the city's newest park. The park includes the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, a large plot of the rare Venus flytrap and other carnivorous plants. Rehder was a local horticulturalist and national spokesman for carnivorous plants. Now that most of the Venus Flytraps are gone, staff report that carnivorous plants such as Pitcher Plants and Sun Dews are also being stolen.
According to the NC History Project, only a few hundred types of carnivorous plants are left on Earth and only six of those are native to the United States, one of which is the Venus Flytrap. The NC State Parks Department states that Venus Flytraps are native only within 60-75 miles of Wilmington. New growing methods have saved the Venus Flytrap from the endangered species list, but the number of plants is “declining due to the destruction of their habitats,” according to the NC Parks Department.
City Parks staff are working with the Wilmington Police Department on potential security options to try and prevent more thefts.
Anyone with information about the stolen plants is asked to
- Call the Wilmington Police Department’s non-emergency line at 343-3600, or
- Send an anonymous text to CRIMES (274637). The message must start with TIP708.