Genus Drosera 

Tropical sundews originate from warm climates of the world where frost never or rarely occurs such as those found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Their habitats are mostly open fields where they can get lots of sunlight and they also grow amidst grasses, weeds and trees. Sundews can vary greatly in size and form and can be found growing natively on every continent except Antarctica. At least twenty-three of these sundews are endemic to the Western Cape including the Cape Sundew (D. Capensis)

RANGE

Tropical sundews originate from warm climates of the world where frost never or rarely occurs such as those found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Their habitats are mostly open fields where they can get lots of sunlight and they also grow amidst grasses, weeds and trees. Sundews can vary greatly in size and form and can be found growing natively on every continent except Antarctica. At least 23 of these sundews are endemic to the Western Cape including D. Capensis or the Cape Sundew.

HOW DO THEY GROW?

Most sundews are perennial herbs. This means they live for more than two years. A few species are annual herbs or dwarf shrubs. While each type of sundew has its own unique characteristics, they tend to form an upright, stemless rosette of blades (laminae) that are densely covered with clear droplets of a sticky, viscous fluid (mucilage) used for trapping insects. In spring and summer, healthy sundews produce odourless, nectarless flowers that do not rely on insects for pollination rather relying on self-pollination.

HUNTING

The leaves of the sundew have evolved into sticky ‘flypaper’ type traps that are covered with ‘tentacles’. The tip of every tentacle contains a nectar gland which produces a sticky globule containing digestive enzymes. When an insect lands on the leaf they get stuck on the dew. As they struggle to free themselves, the tentacles of the sundew start to wrap around the insect through a complicated biological process involving several action potentials. The dew eventually suffocates the insect and it stops moving. The digestive enzymes then absorb nutrients that the sundew needs to grow.