The standard story is that the carnivorous Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) plant’s name refers to the Roman goddess of love, without going into too much detail. Muscipula actually means mousetrap, not flytrap, but that’s not important right now (to quote Airplane! for no apparent reason).
Dionaea means “daughter of Dione”, i.e. Aphrodite, Venus’ Greek counterpart. This fixation on love goddesses gives some clue as to the real reason for the name; the filthy minds and sniggering schoolboy humour of 18th century naturalists. To them it was equally salient that it trapped and digested unsuspecting visitors (hence, flytrap) and that it had two touch sensitive, reddish lobes surrounded by hair… i.e. it reminded them of female genitalia. That link isn’t at all obscene, by the way, it just gives some more background information on the perpetrators of this Linnean lewdness.
I admit that I’m no gynaecologist, but I think it’s highly unlikely that any of their wives were harbouring anything like this down below…
… although apparently sex is what came to the minds of those mixed-up pervs when they saw an inviting Flytrap squeeze the life out of whatever foolish creature blundered into Venus’ clutches.
I suspect this information may add a certain je ne sais quois to future Little Shop of Horrors viewings.
Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.