Round-leaved Sundew

Latin name: Drosera rotundifolia

Family: Droseraceae (Sundew family)

Looking for the secret to a long life and youthful good looks? Well once upon a time, herbalists might have recommended the Round-leaved sundew as this plant was used to create a potion said to be the source of strength, virility and longevity.

However the plant is very interesting in other ways too. It has a distinctive appearance with reddish leaves which are covered in red or green hairs, each tipped with a drop of sticky, translucent 'dew'. The plant is insectivorous and uses its leaves to trap small insects. When an insect lands, the leaves or hairs trigger the plant to move and can entrap the insect in as little as three minutes. Once coated in the plant's acidic liquid, the insect suffocates before being digested by the plant. The round-leaved sundew can thrive in habitats which have low nutrient levels because it gains nitrogen from insects it traps.

It has a widespread distribution in the British Isles where it is found growing in wet acid peaty habitats with little shade. It is most common in the northern and western areas and absent from most of central, eastern and southern England.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this plant can be found in acidic damp hollows, seepages and bogs. It is usually found close to Cranberry and Bog asphodel on the tops of the fells, particularly in the north of the National Park.

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