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.
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.
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.