Sundew – Drosera
A truly international plant, the Drosera genus is the most diverse of all carnivores with nearly two hundred different Sundew species and hybrids found globally. From Cape sundews, to subtropical sundews, temperate sundews, fork-leafed sundews, tropical sundews, woolly sundews, pygmy sundews, tuberous sundews, climbing tuberous sundews, fan-leafed tuberous sundews, rosetted tuberous sundews, South African Winter-growing sundews, and the King sundew, each is truly a one-of-a-kind plant with a unique beauty. All boast delicate flowers and carnivorous habits with glittering dewdrops that give them their fascinating appearance. Your sundew will definitely turn heads and prompt friendly questions if you keep it in an observable place. Who knew that you could get rid of some of those pesky gnats where you live, and improve the feng shui of your house all in one fell swoop?
Biology of a Sundew
All Sundews capture prey by using glistening drops of “dew” for which the plant derives its common name. The shape, size, color, and mobility of the leaves vary across varieties yet each is densely covered with small tentacle-like hairs with singular drops of dew at their tips. The multitude of dew drops (healthy plants can have hundreds of dew drops) make the sundew a breathtaking beauty and a sticky death trap for small insects.
Some species of Drosera can be very hearty, proliferating to a point where they become carnivorous weeds popping up where you don’t necessarily want them. This is partially driven by branching root systems and robust seed production, but also from leaves that can, themselves, sprout entirely new plants if they touch soil. What a special plant!
Sub-soil biology & requirements
Being such a diverse genus, sub-soil characteristics of sundews vary widely. Below we’ll highlight each species:
Sundew flowers vary dramatically in seasonal timing, shape, size, quantity, and the amount of seed produced, but most are beautiful shades of white, pink, or red and all share common reproductive structures.
Where to find Sundews in the wild
The shorter list would include locations around the world where sundews aren’t found. You will discover Drosera on almost every continent, including places in Siberia and Alaska that you’d prefer to avoid as a warm-blooded mammal. Of course, you also find sundews in the tropical wonderlands of Queensland and Brazil. Then we have the bogs of North America and Europe, and southern tips of South American and New Zealand. Click and drag around the map below for a preview of locations.