The Fascinating World of Cape Sundews: Exploring the Species Drosera capensis


Submitted and popularized by American botanist William Jackson Hooker in 1844, Cape sundews (Drosera capensis) are a beautiful species of carnivorous plants. These unique plants are primarily known for their sticky leaves, which are used to trap insects and other small organisms for their nutrient needs.

The physical characteristics of Cape sundews make them stand out among other sundews in the Drosera genus. While most sundews have long, slender leaves, the leaves of D. capensis are spatulate in shape, resembling small white flowers. This distinction is what earned them the common name “cape sundews.”

Cape sundews are mostly native to the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa, but their popularity has led to their cultivation and availability in many other parts of the world. They are well-loved by both botanists and casual plant enthusiasts alike, as they are relatively easy to care for compared to other carnivorous plant species.

Effort to grow these temperate sundews is rewarded with their captivating display of sticky leaves and their ability to capture and digest prey. Just be cautious, as the leaves can cause harm to small insects and even some less sturdy human appendages!

Please, do not attempt to consume or touch carnivorous plants without proper knowledge or guidance.

Sundews Drosera

Sundews, also known as Drosera, are a genus of carnivorous plants in the family Droseraceae. The major characteristics of sundews include their sticky leaves that trap and digest insects. They are well adapted to growing in temperate and tropical regions worldwide.

One of the most well-known species of sundews is Drosera capensis, also known as the Cape sundew. This species is native to South Africa and is often used in the horticultural trade. The capensis has long, spatulate leaves with a white, sticky substance on them. It is a social sundew and can form large colonies.

Another popular species is Drosera spatulata, which is native to Australia and Southeast Asia. This species has smaller, spatulate leaves and is less common in cultivation compared to the capensis. The spatulata also has a sticky substance on its leaves, which is used to capture and digest small insects.

The physical characteristics of sundews make them fascinating plants to observe. While working with sundews, it is important to be careful with the leaves, as touching them can cause damage to their sticky surfaces. It is best to handle sundews using tweezers or other tools to avoid harming the plants.

In conclusion, sundews, or Drosera, are a group of carnivorous plants known for their sticky leaves and ability to capture insects. The cape sundew (Drosera capensis) and the spatulata (Drosera spatulata) are two well-known species of sundews. Growing sundews requires effort and attention, but the reward of observing their carnivorous nature is well worth it.

Cape Sundews Drosera capensis

The Cape Sundews Drosera capensis, also known as Cape Sundew, is a carnivorous plant from the genus Drosera in the family Droseraceae. This plant is native to the Cape region of South Africa, and it is one of the most common and well-known species of Sundews.

The Cape Sundews have unique characteristics that make them standout in the world of carnivorous plants. Their leaves are covered in small, sticky hairs that resemble dewdrops, hence the name “Sundew”. These sticky hairs serve to trap and digest insects, which are an essential source of nutrients for these plants.

One of the major differences between the Cape Sundew and other sundew species, such as Drosera spatulata, is their physical appearance. The Cape Sundew has long, slender leaves while others have shorter, spatula-shaped leaves. This difference in leaf shape is mainly due to the different environments in which these plants grow.

The Cape Sundews are mainly found in the temperate regions of South Africa, while other sundew species can be found in tropical and temperate regions around the world. The sticky hairs on the leaves of the Cape Sundew are an adaptation to attract and capture insects in its habitat, where availability of nutrients may be limited.

As a popular plant among carnivorous plant enthusiasts, the Cape Sundews are often cultivated and sold in nurseries and plant stores. There are also efforts to conserve the natural populations of this species, as they may face threats from habitat destruction and over-collection.

If you’re interested in growing Cape Sundews or other sundew species, please note that they require specific conditions to thrive. They prefer bright, indirect light and well-drained soil. They also need to be watered with purified or distilled water, as tap water can contain minerals that may cause harm to the plant.

In conclusion, the Cape Sundews Drosera capensis is a fascinating species of sundew that is known for its sticky leaves and carnivorous nature. Native to the Cape region of South Africa, this plant has unique characteristics that set it apart from other sundew species. Whether you’re an experienced carnivorous plant enthusiast or a beginner looking to start your collection, the Cape Sundew is definitely a plant worth considering.


The sundew is a genus of carnivorous plants, belonging to the family Droseraceae. There are over 194 species of sundews that come in various forms, but the most well-known and extensively studied species is Drosera capensis, also known as the cape sundew.

Sundews, with their long and sticky leaves, have unique characteristics that make them intriguing plants. The leaves of sundews are covered in tiny tentacle-like structures that are dotted with glandular hairs. These hairs produce a sticky substance called mucilage, which attracts and traps insects.

Sundews are mostly found in temperate and tropical regions, although some species can be found in areas with colder climates. While sundews are mostly green in color, some species like Drosera spatulata have vibrant colors, with a reddish hue.

One of the major physical characteristics of sundews is their ability to capture prey. When an insect lands on the sticky leaves, the plant’s tentacles slowly curl around it, ensuring that the insect cannot escape. This is a unique adaptation among carnivorous plants.

The cape sundew, or Drosera capensis, is one of the most common sundews found in cultivation. It is native to South Africa and is known for its long, strap-like leaves and white flower spikes.

There has been much interest in growing sundews, both for scientific research and as a hobby. Many enthusiasts have shared their experiences and knowledge on growing sundews, and there are even online communities where sundew enthusiasts can connect and share information.

If you are interested in growing sundews, it is important to note that these plants require specific care. They thrive in humid conditions and need to be kept moist. Additionally, they require bright light but should be protected from direct sunlight to avoid leaf burn.

In conclusion, sundews are fascinating and unique plants that have captured the attention of many plant enthusiasts. Their carnivorous nature and sticky leaves make them stand out among other plants, and their beauty in print and in person is captivating. If you’re interested in learning more about sundews, please make the effort to explore this amazing genus.


The Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis) is a species of carnivorous plant that belongs to the genus Drosera in the family Droseraceae. It is native to the Cape in South Africa, where it is commonly found in the temperate regions. The Cape Sundew is one of the most common and easy-to-grow species of sundews.

The physical characteristics of the Cape Sundew make it a fascinating plant. The leaves are long and spatulata-shaped, with sticky tentacles that cover the surface. These tentacles secrete a sticky substance, which is used to trap insects. When an insect lands on the leaves, it gets stuck in the glue-like substance and is unable to escape. The plant then uses its enzymes to digest the insect and absorb nutrients from it. This is the main characteristic of most carnivorous plants.

The Cape Sundew is less demanding in terms of care compared to other sundews. It is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, making it a popular choice for beginners as well as experienced enthusiasts. It can be grown both indoors and outdoors, although it may require some extra effort to provide the optimal conditions in indoor environments.

One major characteristic of the Cape Sundew is its ability to go into a dormant state during winter. In temperate regions, where the plant naturally occurs, it will stop growing during the colder months and its leaves will die back. This adaptation allows the plant to survive in harsh conditions and then regrow when the temperature warms up. It is important to mimic this natural cycle when growing Cape Sundews in cultivation.

The Cape Sundew is well-known for its unique appearance, as its leaves are covered in small, sticky white tentacles. This distinguishes it from other sundews, which mostly have red tentacles. The white tentacles of the Cape Sundew add an interesting visual appeal to the plant and make it a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis) is a fascinating and unique plant with many interesting characteristics. Its physical attributes, carnivorous nature, and adaptability make it a popular choice for both beginner and experienced growers. Whether you are working with this plant or simply appreciate its beauty, the Cape Sundew is a remarkable species that deserves attention.

✿ Read More About Foliage Plants.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.