Round-leaved sundew Drosera rotundifolia

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,  its reddish leaves 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.


On each of the round-leaved sundew’s leaves, 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.


  • Height: up to 20cm




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

When to see

June – August


  • The ‘dew’ of Round-leaved Sundews once formed the basis of anti-ageing potions as people believed it was a source of youth and virility – the sundew itself glistening and moist even in the most fierce sun. Later on, the plant was also used as a love charm because of its power to lure and trap helpless insects.

Common name

Round-leaved sundew

Species name

Drosera rotundifolia

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

June – August

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Tailend Moss or Glen Moss.

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