Information on Sundew

Overview

Sundew, also known as Drosera, is a type of carnivorous (meat-eating) plant. There are approximately 130 different species of the sundew. Sundews have semi-active trapping mechanisms, which means that their upper leaves are covered with sticky, thick glands that function similarly to flypaper. After the glands trap their prey, the margins of the leaves may roll over in order to obscure the the prey.

Appearance

Sundews are known for their attractive appearances. They somewhat resemble fireworks. Their leaves are vibrant red and green colors, which are covered with shining mucilage drops that, under the sun, appear to sparkle. Sundew leaves are flat with various stalked glands or tentacles.

Geography

Sundews can be found all over the planet. The Drosera genus has a lot of diversity due to this fact. Sundews are categorized into seven different groups based on their location and type. These groups are temperate, fork-leaved, pygmy, Queensland, Petiolaris (from Australia), South American, South African and annual.

Flowers

Sundew flowers, like most other meat-eating plants, are situated above the leaves and held up by a long stem. They are physically removed from the traps. The flowers are radially symmetrical, and consist of five separate parts. In general, the flowers are small and pink or white in color. However, Australian varieties of sundew show more variety in terms of color, and are often orange.

Habitat

Sundews generally appear in wet or seasonally damp areas that have abundant sunlight and acidic soil. Common places for sundews to be found include marshes, bogs, swamps, fens and highly moist stream banks. In South Africa, they are often found in fynbos (heathland or shrub land). In Venezuela, they appear in tepuis (highlands). On Australia's coast, the plants are often in wallums.

Ornamental Plants

Due to their glistening physical beauty (particularly their traps), sundews are often used as ornamental plants. They can be difficult to find because they are not available commercially, due to the fact that most of their species' environmental requirements are strict. Some hardy varieties of sundews, however, can be found in nurseries around the world (usually alongside Venus flytraps).

Keywords: sundews, drosera, carnivorous plants

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.