Horticulturalist and Wilmington native Stanley Rehder made his life’s work the cultivation of flesh-eating plants. When he passed away in 2012 at the age of 90, the city carved out a small green space dedicated to its beloved “Flytrap Man.”
The Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden occupies three-quarters of an acre behind Alderman Elementary School. Found in one of the world’s few microclimates permitting year-round outdoor growth of such plants, its beds are home to pitcher plants, sundews, Venus flytraps, and other insectivorous species. Visitors are invited to survey the lands anytime during daylight hours, and plant hikes are offered for free each Saturday morning. Interested parties are advised to wear closed toed shoes. After all, these plants have teeth.
In May 2013, the garden found its way into local news when more than 1,000 venus flytraps valued at $20,000 were stolen out of the garden. Officials saw the act as just one in a massive series of flytrap thefts throughout the area, all feeding a massive carnivorous plant black market in the United States. Though the perpetrators of the crime at Rehder Park remain on the loose, the event played a key role in passing a new state law that makes the unlawful taking of a Venus flytrap a felony.