Wildville – April 2017

Cape Sundew

Kingdom: Plantae
Angiosperms | Eudicots | Core eudicots Order: Caryophyllales | Family: Droseraceae Genus: Drosera | Species: D. capensis

The majority of plants get all of their nutrients through their roots, which are in soil. All they need is a little sunshine and water. Some plants grow in soil that does not provide all of the nutrients that they need. To stay alive and healthy, the plants have to get nourishment in other ways. For some, that means being carnivorous. They trap insects and then digest them to get nutrients like nitrogen. There are over 300 di erent kinds of carnivorous plants, and each one traps insects in a di erent way. One type is called the sundew. There are 188 species of Sundew, and they are found all over the world.

• They are called sundews because they have glistening drops of goo on their thin red leaves.
• This sweet-smelling goo is what traps insects.
• The goo is called mucilage.
• When an insect gets stuck, the sundew will wrap its stems around the insect and surround it in goo.
• Its thin stems, also known as tentacles absorb the nutrients.
• These stems also contain enzymes that digest the insects.
• The sundew then absorbs the nitrogen and other nutrients.
• The plants are small, usually only 5 inches tall.
• The largest species of sundew, the climbing sundew, can be 30 feet tall.
• Sundews will eat any insect that they catch, but ies and butter ies are the most common.
• It will usually take 15 minutes for the prey to die.
• After it has eaten the insect, the sundew will open its tentacles and drop the empty exoskeleton to the ground.

There are several other types of carnivorous plants. Pitfall traps have a large chamber full of
enzymes. The rim of the plant is covered in sweet nectar that will lure in insects that
then fall into the pitcher and never escape. Flypaper traps are coated in sweet, sticky glue. Small
insects will get trapped and digested by the leaves. Snap traps, like the Venus ytrap, will snap close when insects land in their special open leaves. These plants can be found everywhere except for Antarctica. They live in areas with harsh soil, like rocky outcroppings on mountains or bogs with acidic soil. They have developed to live in places where other plants cannot.

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