Cape Sundews Drosera capensis: An In-Depth Look at the Amazing Carnivorous Plant


Cape Sundews, scientifically known as Drosera capensis, are carnivorous plants belonging to the genus Drosera. They are mostly found in specific regions of South Africa, particularly in the Cape Province, hence their name. Sundews are known for their unique characteristics and ability to attract and trap insects as a source of nutrients.

Each sundew plant has long, slender leaves covered in fine, hair-like tentacles that secrete a sticky substance. This substance, which resembles morning dew, glistens in the light and serves as a lure for unsuspecting insects. When an insect lands on a sundew leaf, it becomes stuck in the glue-like secretion.

The sundew’s tentacles then wrap around the trapped insect, slowly suffocating it. This process is aided by the plant’s digestive enzymes, which break down the insect’s body, allowing the sundew to absorb the nutrients. Sundews are highly adapted to growing in nutrient-poor environments such as bogs and swamps, where they use their carnivorous abilities to supplement their nutrient intake.

Drosera capensis is one of the most common and widespread species of sundew found in the wild. Its ease of cultivation and attractive appearance have made it popular among horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts. The Cape Sundew can be grown in a variety of conditions, but it thrives in bright, indirect light. Its unique and powerful trapping mechanisms have led to its popularity as a staple plant in carnivorous plant collections.

In conclusion, Cape Sundews (Drosera capensis) are fascinating and unique plants that have adapted to thrive in nutrient-poor environments. Their carnivorous nature and specific trapping mechanisms make them a captivating subject for study and cultivation. Whether in the wild or as part of a horticultural collection, these sundews are a testament to the incredible diversity and adaptability found in the plant kingdom.


Sundews, also known as the Cape Sundews (Drosera capensis), are a genus of carnivorous plants that are mostly found in the Americas. One of the most common species is the Drosera capensis, which probably originated from the Cape swamps in South Africa.

These plants have a unique and fascinating way of capturing their prey. Sundews produce a sticky substance on their leaves that attracts insects. Once an insect lands on the leaf, the sticky substance holds it in place, and the leaf gradually folds around the insect, trapping it. The sundew then secretes enzymes that help digest the trapped insect, absorbing its nutrients to supplement its poor soil conditions.

One of the reasons sundews are so successful at catching insects is their unique structure. Each sundew plant has multiple stalked leaves, known as tentacles, that are covered with tiny hairs. These hairs are topped with a small gland that secretes a sticky substance, which lures insects close and prevents their escape.

Sundews have adapted to thrive in specific environments. For example, the Drosera capensis grows well in swamps and wetlands, while other species prefer drier conditions. This shows how diverse the genus Sundews is and how they have evolved to survive in various habitats.

Society and Sundews

There is a large community of enthusiasts and professionals who study and cultivate sundews. Many Sundew societies and clubs exist around the world, where members share knowledge, experiences, and tips for successful cultivation. They often exchange plants or seeds, helping to preserve and propagate different species within the genus.

As a carnivorous plant, the sundew serves as an incredible source of fascination, not only for botanists but also for nature lovers and enthusiasts. Their ability to capture and digest insects is a powerful example of nature’s adaptability and survival strategies.

In conclusion, sundews are captivating plants that have evolved powerful and unique features to catch prey. From the Drosera capensis to other species within the genus, sundews showcase the wonders of nature’s diversity and the marvels of carnivorous adaptations.

Cape Sundews Drosera capensis

Sundews, belonging to the genus Drosera, are carnivorous plants that are mostly found in swamps and other wetlands. One specific sundew species is Drosera capensis, also known as Cape sundew. These plants are known for their unique characteristics and the powerful way they capture their prey.

The leaves of Cape sundews are covered in small, tentacle-like structures called tentacles. These tentacles are covered in a sticky substance that attracts insects. When an insect lands on a tentacle, the sticky substance traps it, and the tentacles slowly curl around their prey. The Cape sundew then releases digestive enzymes that break down the insect’s tissues, allowing the plant to absorb the nutrients.

While all sundews have similar characteristics, the Cape sundew is known for its large size and robust growth. It can reach a height of up to 6 inches, with leaves that can grow up to 2 inches long. This makes it one of the largest sundews in the Drosera genus.

Cape sundews are native to South Africa, but they have been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America. They are a popular choice among carnivorous plant enthusiasts due to their ease of care and ability to catch a wide range of insect prey.

Light and Growing Conditions

Cape sundews require bright, indirect light to thrive. They can tolerate some direct sunlight in the morning or late afternoon, but too much direct light can cause their leaves to burn. In their natural habitat, they grow in open areas where they receive plenty of sunlight.

These plants also require a high humidity environment, as they are adapted to growing in swamps and wetlands. They can be grown in terrariums or other enclosed containers to maintain the necessary humidity levels.

Stock from the International Carnivorous Plant Society

If you’re looking to add a Cape sundew to your collection, a good source is the International Carnivorous Plant Society. They offer a wide variety of carnivorous plants, including Drosera capensis, and provide detailed care instructions to ensure success in maintaining these unique plants.

In conclusion, Cape sundews, or Drosera capensis, are fascinating carnivorous plants with unique traits. They are known for their large size, robust growth, and powerful prey-capturing abilities. If you’re interested in carnivorous plants, the Cape sundew is definitely a species worth considering!

Sundews Drosera

Sundews, or Drosera, are a genus of carnivorous plants that are mostly found in America. The most common species in this genus is the Cape sundew, Drosera capensis. Sundews are known for their specific characteristics, such as their sticky leaves that shine and glisten in the light. These characteristics make them powerful predators.

The Cape sundew, Drosera capensis, is a large sundew plant that grows in swamps and wetlands. This specific species is probably the most well-known and widely cultivated sundew. It is also one of the easiest to grow, making it a popular choice among plant enthusiasts.

Characteristics of Sundews

Sundews are carnivorous plants that have adapted to obtain nutrients from insects. They have unique leaves covered in sticky hairs that secretes a sticky substance. When an insect lands on the leaves, it becomes stuck to the sticky substance, and the plant then releases digestive enzymes to break down the insect and absorb the nutrients.

Sundew Capensis

The Cape sundew, or Drosera capensis, is a specific species of sundew that is native to South Africa. It has long, red tentacle-like leaves that are covered in sticky hairs. These sticky hairs are used to capture insects for food. The Cape sundew is known for its beauty and ease of care, making it a popular choice for plant enthusiasts.

In conclusion, sundews, particularly the Cape sundew, Drosera capensis, are unique carnivorous plants that have adapted to thrive in swamps and wetlands. Their sticky leaves and powerful digestive enzymes make them efficient predators. They provide a fascinating example of how plants can adapt to their environments and obtain nutrients in specific ways.



Sundew is a carnivorous plant from the genus Drosera, with the specific species Drosera capensis.

Capensis is native to South Africa, but it is also found in other parts of the world, including Australia and North America. While there are more than 200 different species of sundews, Drosera capensis is one of the most common and easily found.

Sundews are known for their powerful and unique way of catching and digesting insects. They have long, sticky tentacles that cover their leaves. When an insect lands on the leaf, the tentacles move and curl around it, trapping it in a sticky substance secreted by the plant. The plant then releases enzymes to break down the insect and absorb its nutrients.

Sundews are adapted to growing in swamps and other wet habitats, where they can thrive in nutrient-poor soil. They obtain the nutrients they need by catching and consuming insects.

One interesting characteristic of sundews is their ability to attract prey. They produce a sweet, sticky substance on their leaves that lures insects in. The bright colors of their leaves also serve as a visual attractant.

Each sundew plant produces multiple leaves, each with its own set of tentacles. They grow as a rosette, with the leaves radiating out from a central point. This allows the plant to catch prey from multiple angles.

Sundews require a lot of light to grow, so they are often found in sunny, open areas. They can also tolerate some shade, but too little light can cause the plants to become weak and leggy.

In cultivation, Drosera capensis is one of the easiest sundews to grow. It is hardy and adaptable, making it a popular choice for both beginner and experienced growers. It can be propagated from seed or by dividing the plant, and it readily forms new plants from leaf cuttings.

In conclusion, sundews, especially Drosera capensis, are fascinating carnivorous plants with unique characteristics that allow them to catch and digest insects for their nutrients. They are found in various parts of the world and are popular among plant enthusiasts for their ease of cultivation and interesting behaviors.

Sources: Wikipedia


The Cape Sundews (Drosera capensis) are carnivorous plants that belong to the specific genus of sundews (Drosera). They are mostly found in South Africa, specifically in the Cape region, which is how they acquired their name. However, they can also be found in other parts of Africa, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

One of the most powerful characteristics of the Cape Sundews is their ability to trap and digest insects. They do this by producing sticky glands, called tentacles, on their leaves which secrete a sticky substance to attract and trap their prey. Once an insect is caught, the sundews will wrap their tentacles around it, suffocating and digesting it to obtain nutrients that are otherwise lacking in their environment.

The leaves of the Cape Sundews are covered in small, red hairs that give them their distinctive appearance. These hairs act as sensors, allowing the plant to detect when an insect has landed on its leaves. This unique adaptation helps the sundews to efficiently catch their prey.

When growing in their natural habitat, the Cape Sundews can be found in swamps and other wetland areas. They thrive in environments with high levels of humidity and receive an abundance of light. However, they can also adapt to growing in drier conditions, although they may not be as active in trapping insects.

Each plant produces multiple leaves that grow in a rosette formation, with each leaf capable of catching and digesting its own prey. The sundews are known for their ability to catch a wide variety of insects, including flies, ants, beetles, and even small spiders.

In cultivation, the Cape Sundews are often considered one of the best options for beginners interested in growing carnivorous plants. They are relatively easy to care for and can be grown in a variety of conditions, making them a popular choice among enthusiasts.

Characteristics at a glance:

Scientific Name Drosera capensis
Common Name Cape Sundews
Natural Habitat South Africa (Cape region), Africa, Australia, New Zealand
Main Characteristic Carnivorous
Type of Leaves Rosette formation with small red hairs
Preferred Growing Conditions High humidity, abundance of light
Recommended for Beginners interested in carnivorous plants

Source: “Carnivorous Plant Society”

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.