Sundew – A truly interesting carnivorous plant


If you want to grow a carnivorous plant, consider the sundew, which is both long lived and a very unique plant. This plant classified under the genus Drosera can live up to 50 years. With more than 170 species, the sundew finds itself among the largest genera of carnivore plants. Drosera plants have many fascinating characteristics, many of which will be highlighted here.

The leaf surface of sundews is covered with stalks of mucilaginous glands to attract, trap and digest insects. The name of this carnivorous plant is derived from the dew-like drops of glistening mucilage at the tip of each stalk. Sundews are herbaceous perennial plants with upright rosettes of between 1 cm and 1 meter in height which varies according to species. Exceptional in length are those climbing species, which can reach up to 3 meters. The pygmy sundew, has become so adapted to a carnivorous life style that it already discarded the enzymes that other plants utilize for soil nitrate intake.

The North American species belongs to lineage of temperate sundews, which develop a hibernaculum, unfurled and tightly clustered leaves, during their dormant period in winter. There are several commonly listed Drosera species in the USA and Canada, among which are D. rotundifolia, D. anglica, D. linearis, D. brevifolia, D. capillaries, D. filiformis, and D. intermedia.

D. filiformis is further divided into two varieties, one of which is Drosera filiformis var. filiformis that is suffused deeply with red and occurs in the twin Carolina states and in Massachusetts. Its congeneric is Drosera filiformis var. tracyi, a pale green and larger species, which thrive in Mississippi to Florida and southwest to Georgia. These congenerics hybridize, which isn’t characteristic of other North American sundew species.

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