Species of the Week: Round-leaved Sundew

Photo by Adam Kalab

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). Many people don’t expect to find carnivorous plants in Ontario but in fact, we have 4 different types! Pitcher plants, butterworts, bladderworts and sundews. Each plant has its own way of catching and digesting its insect prey, but here we’ll focus on that of the Round-leaved Sundew. Round-leaved Sundews can be identified by their tall red stems, with round or spoon-shaped leaves on the end of the stems. These disks will be covered in little red hairs that have droplets of a clear sticky liquid on them. These droplets resemble dew hence the name “Sundew”. The sticky droplets work like glue and insects that get stuck cannot get away. The Sundews then release another liquid that paralyzes and breaks down the prey. The reason Sundews are carnivorous is that they live in wetland habitats where there is very little to no nitrogen present in the soil. By “eating” insects, Sundews are able to get the right amount of nitrogen they need to thrive. Something else that Sundews can do is alter their carnivorous behaviour based on the conditions around them. If a Sundew is in a site with more nutrients available in the soil it will eat fewer insects, and if in a site with poorer nutrients, will eat more insects! The next time you’re in a wetland check out the soil and see if you can find these cool carnivorous plants!

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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