Monday, November 1, 2010


Sundew (22)

Roundleaf Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)

John and I did a quick hike of the Willoughby Bog solely to look for carnivorous plants. We found two: pitcher plants and sundews. Sundews grow on the edge of water and give the bog a red glow that is beautiful to behold. More beautiful are the plants themselves, which are often so small you may miss them.

Northern Woodlands Magazine, in About the Outside Story: Sundews, Pitcher Plants, and Bladderworts: Carnivorous Plants in Our Midst, by Anne Margolis on August 13, 2006, writes this of sundews in northern New England:

Unfortunately for curious naturalists, the one with teeth (really modified leaf margins) – the Venus flytrap – is not found in the wild around here. The less well known but truly beautiful sundew, which is found in this area, also uses its leaves – evolved into red, glistening paddles in a feat of evolutionary ingenuity – to nab passing insects. Sundews are named for their “sparkle,” really tiny droplets of moisture exuded by this diminutive plant’s leaves. This moisture is not benign dew, as the name suggests, but sticky mucus that attracts the attention of passing insects who then approach, usually too close, to investigate. Once the insect makes contact with the mucus, it is trapped, and the sundew’s tentacle-like, modified leaf curls inward to smother and begin digesting it. The resulting insect slurry is then absorbed by special glands on the leaf’s surface.

Sundew (1) - Copy


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