Drosera rotundifolia - Round-leaved Sundew

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Caryophyllales - Family: Droseraceae

Leaves of Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia

Leaves of Round-leaved Sundew, showing the sticky liquid on the leaf-spikes


This insectivorous plant has a thick coating of red hairs on the upper surface of its leaves. Each hair is tipped with a drop of sticky liquid that has the ability to trap small insects, upon which the plant feeds. Round-leaved Sundew's name originates from these droplets of liquid that were thought to be dew rather than a substance produced by the plant itself. Once trapped and stuck fast the insect is enfolded in the leaf and, over a period of a couple of days, a further secretion from the centre of the leaves reduces the insect to a form that can be absorbed by the plant as food.

Hairy leaf stalks of Round-leaved Sundew

This very common sundew is easily separated from the other two species found in Britain and Ireland, as it has hairy leaf stalks while Great Sundew and Oblong-leaved Sundew have essentially hairless leaf stalks.

Round-leaved Sundew

Round-leaved Sundew is a low-growing plant and has very small white flowers on a long stem. It is mainly found in bogs and on wet moorland, as it prefers the kind of acid soils that are found in such places. The plant is found throughout the UK, Ireland and in many European countries including Slovenia.

A closeup of the sticky flower of Round-leaved Sundew

Similar species

Great Sundew Drosera anglica is a much larger plant with elongated paddle-like leaves that have bare stalks. Oblong-leaved Sundew Drosera intermedia has spoon-shaped paddles with bare stalks and is rather like a miniature form of Great Subdew. All three Sundews found in Britain have very similar flowers.

Blooming Times

Drosera rotundifolia produces flowers from June to August, but they open only briefly during bright sunny weather. The Round-leaved Sundew specimens shown here were photographed in west Wales in June and July.

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