Round-leaved Sundew

Drosera rotundifolia

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Round-leaved Sundew

About

The Round-leaved Sundew is a strange and beautiful plant that can be found sitting among the soggy Sphagnum mosses at the shores of bog pools, on wet heaths and peaty moors. A tiny, slender plant, it's actually its reddish leaves and diet that make it stand out from the crowd. On each leaf, hair-like tendrils tipped with glistening droplets attract passing insects. But this 'dew' is very sticky and when the sundew's tendrils detect the presence of prey, it curls them inwards, trapping the insect. Eventually, the whole leaf wraps around the prey; the enclosed insect is digested and the nutrients absorbed by the plant. The acidic habitats the Round-leaved Sundew lives in don't provide enough nutrients, so it has evolved this carnivorous way of life to supplement its diet.

How to identify

The leaves of the Round-leaved Sundew are covered in red 'hairs' and arranged at the base of the plant in a rosette. The white or pink flowers (which appear in summertime) bloom at the top of hairless, red stems. The Round-leaved Sundew can be distinguished from the Oblong-leaved Sundew by the rounder shape of its leaves.

Where to find it

Common in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Grows in England but mainly in the South West and North West.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Windswept heaths and moors are an iconic feature of the UK's landscape and are the result of hundreds of years of low-impact human activities such as livestock-grazing and scrub clearance. Yet development and the decline of traditional farming methods have caused many of these precious habitats to be lost - over 80% of lowland heathland in the UK has disappeared in just 200 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland habitats for the benefit of wildlife such as the Round-leaved Sundew. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Round-leaved Sundew
Latin name
Drosera rotundifolia
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 20cm
Conservation status
Common.