Status: Not Listed
Sundews are “flypaper” plants that trap prey in sticky hairs on their leaves. They make up one of the largest groups of carnivorous plants. Long tentacles protrude from their leaves, each with a sticky gland at the tip. These droplets look like dew glistening in the sun, thus their name. The glands produce nectar to attract prey, powerful adhesive to trap it, and enzymes to digest it. Once an insect becomes stuck, nearby tentacles coil around the insect and smother it. Sundews can reach a height of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters). However, some species are tall and with a vine-like appearance, while others hug the ground, making their size variable.
Sundews are found in most of the United States, except some portions of the Southwest. They prefer bog habitats and soils lacking nitrogen.
These plants feed on insects. Mosquitoes are abundant in the sundews’ preferred habitat and can make up a significant portion of their diet in these locations. Sundews can kill a trapped insect in about 15 minutes, but may digest it over a few weeks. The plant’s deadly secretions are harmless to the assassin bug, which hides on the plant to take advantage of helpless victims.
Many species of sundew can self-pollinate, while others reproduce through seeds.
Some species of sundew are listed as threatened or endangered in specific states. The primary threat to sundews is loss of wetland habitat.
Early settlers extracted a red fluid from sundews to use as ink.
Botanical Society of America
International Carnivorous Plant Society
Lyons, Janet, and Sandra Jordan. Walking the Wetlands: a Hiker's Guide to Common Plants and Animals of Marshes, Bogs, and Swamps. New York: Wiley, 1989. Print.
USDA Plants Database
The U.S. Senate votes to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, part of a package that also created more than a million acres of new wilderness and conservation areas in the western United States.Read More
Love is in the air! Take a lighthearted look at how North American wildlife get in on the concepts of friendship and romantic love.Read More
Discover the benefits of wind to wildlife, its risks to wildlife, and how we can mitigate these risks.Read the Report
Place your order today for the themed box that delivers everything you need to create family memories while discovering nature and wildlife.Learn More
The National Wildlife® Photo Contest celebrates the power of photography to advance conservation and connect people with wildlife and the outdoors.