Sundews

Oblong-leaved Sundew Oblong-leaved Sundew Round-leaved Sundew Oblong-leaved Sundew

What are they?

Sundews form the family Droseraceae and are plants that really capture the imagination because of their carnivorous habits. Growing from overwintering roostocks in the spring, these plants produce fleshy leaves that are furnished with glandular hairs, each hair being tipped with a very sticky globule. Any insect that wanders into these becomes inextricably stuck and is doomed, for the leaves are motile and the hairs are slowly closed in on the unfortunate creature, after which it is digested by enzymes produced by the plant. This behaviour allows sundews to grow successfully in impoverished habitats where few other plants can grow.

Where are they found?

Good quality sphagnum bogs on acid soils provide habitat for these plants.

Identification

Our three species are all very similar but can be distinguished by the shape of their leaves.



Round-leaved Sundew      Drosera rotundifolia

Native. A species of good-quality, acid bog, now lost from many former locations but our commonest species and still present in protected sphagnum bogs in Suffolk and Norfolk. Flowers June to August. Differs from our two other species in its round, not elongate leaves.

Round-leaved Sundew Round-leaved Sundew Round-leaved Sundew Round-leaved Sundew
Habit
Leaf
Flower
Seed capsules


Great Sundew      Drosera anglica

Native. Now very rare in sphagnum bogs; extinct in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and confined to just five sites in Norfolk. Flowers June to August. Our largest species, with very elongate leaves, the leaf blades very gradually tapering into the stalk at the base.

Great Sundew Great Sundew Great Sundew
Habit
Leaves
Leaf


Oblong-leaved Sundew      Drosera intermedia

Native. Now very rare in sphagnum bogs; extinct in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and confined to just five sites in Norfolk. Flowers June to August. Intermediate between the other two species, with spoon-shaped leaves, the leaf blades rather abruptly narrowing into the stalk at the base.

Oblong-leaved Sundew Oblong-leaved Sundew Oblong-leaved Sundew Oblong-leaved Sundew
Leaf
Leaf
Flower
Seed capsules