Filed under: Drosera — Tags: — David @ 10:14 pm

Drosera or Sundews are a group of beautiful carnivorous plants. However, they do not produce “pitchers” to capture insects but uses an active glue trap much like a fly paper trap. The tentacle-covered leaves come in various shapes and forms making them a very interesting plant to cultivate and collect. At the end of each tentacle the plant produces a droplet of sticky substance that looks like morning dew when the sun shines on it, thus the name Sundews. The droplets of “dews” promise sweet delicious nectar to unsuspecting insects. They can be as small as 1cm in diameter or as big as 2-3 feet in diameter. Some are annuals, while others are perennials.

D. pulchella


Nothing about the Sundew plant suggests the horrors of its carnivorous nature to the insect world. When an insect lands on the Sundew, it will find itself caught in the sticky substance of the dews at the tip of each tiny tentacle on the leaves. As the insect struggles to free itself, more sticky tentacles around the insect would slowly move towards the insect to prevent its escape. The sticky glue suffocates and kills the insect and the plant secretes burning acids and enzymes that slowly breakdown the insect body. The insect’s bodily fluid is then released and the plant reabsorbs this rich nutrient to help in growth.

sundew dews

Some species have rather dramatic movement such as D. burmanni, a tropical species and D. scorpiodes, a “giant” pygmy species. They are able to curl around an insect within a minute. The Sundew’s ability to move is different from specie to specie. Many are able to curl their leaves around an insect. Others are just able to move their tentacles. Still others are able to grab the insect like a clenched fist.

Unlike Pitcher Plant traps, insects that are caught by a Sundew might struggle a horrible few days before it dies. In those long few days, its bodily fluids are slowly drained out. This happens when only part of the insect body is caught on the Sundew while the other half hangs in mid air. Sometimes I wonder what thoughts and nightmares the insect goes through in those long few agonizing days before its demise.

D. adelae plantlet D. spatulata D. ericksoniae x pulchella


Sundew plants grow in areas similar to other carnivorous plants in sunny, humid and wet environment. However, they have adapted to a wide range of diverse climates. Because of this they can be found in almost every continent in the world. Some are able to survive hot, dry summers and grow during the cool winter rains while others grow in Mediterranean-like climates where the temperatures may drop to near freezing at night and rise dramatically during the day. Still others grow in hot humid tropical forest. So no matter where you are in the world, you will most probably find Sundews.

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