Drosera capillaris Poir.
Wet pine flatwoods (WPF-T), wet pine savannas (SPS-T, SPS-RF, WLPS, VWLPS).
Frequent. May–Aug . Thornhill 292, 371, 411 (NCSC). Specimens seen in the vicinity: Sandy Run [Hancock]: Taggart SARU 172 (WNC!). [= RAB, Weakley]
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Catalog Number: US 70958
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. Wright
Locality: Greater Antilles, Cuba, West Indies
- Lectotype: Grisebach, A. H. R. 1866. Cat. Pl. Cub. 12.
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Comments: Drosera capillaris is secure in the Coastal Plain, but rare, relictual and significant in the Cumberlands, where it is threatened by land-use conversion and habitat fragmentation, particularly the drainage of wetlands (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Whole plant: Surinam Amerindians drop the squeezed juice from numerous fire-warmed and withered plants into bleary eyes to clear them. Infusion in water is used to treat hoarseness.
Drosera capillaris, the pink or spathulate-leaved sundew (not to be confused with Drosera spatulata), is a small carnivorous plant of the family Droseraceae in the genus Drosera. They are frequently found in wet pine flatwoods and bogs of the southeastern United States, ranging from eastern Texas east to Florida and north to Virginia, as well as in some areas of the Caribbean. They thrive in moist, acidic soil.
D. capillaris is a small plant, usually ranging from 2 to 4 cm in diameter, but in wet habitats it has been known to grow up to 7 cm. In strong sun the entire plant appears red with round, spoon-shaped leaf blades sporting numerous tentacles. In normal light, the leaves are lime-green and the tentacles red. The leaves are arranged in a rosette and generally lie flat on the ground.
At the end of each tentacle is a mucilaginous secretory gland. This gland secretes droplets of fluid which gives the plant its glistening, dew-drop appearance. Insects, upon being attracted to the plant through the nectar-like appearance and odor of the secretions, become stuck to the mucilage. With this stimulus, the tentacles begin to slowly enclose the victim. In a matter of minutes, the sundew begins to secrete digestive enzymes and acids that start to dissolve its victim's body. The glands then start to absorb the nutritious liquified insect. It has been found that these plants only respond to objects of nutritional value and not to sand, paper, or water.
Some individuals of this species act as annuals and some as perennials. Germination occurs throughout the fall, and germination time varies over a matter of months. The flowers are pink and typically show up in April. However, these plants flower over a huge range of times and sizes, and some individuals complete their life cycles within a year while others survive for two or more years.
It is not unusual to see D. capillaris, along with their relative the Drosera brevifolia (the dwarf sundew), carpet large areas so thickly it is hard to walk without stepping on tens of them growing out of wet sand or long-fiber sphagnum or just overflowing from a road-side ditch. Both sundews commonly live side-by-side with American pitcher plants (Sarracenia), butterworts, and bladderworts.
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Surinam: zonnedauw. Surinam Arawak: jeberu bina. Surinam Sranan: drosera.
Names and Taxonomy
Drosera pusilla sensu auct. Guian., non H.B.K.
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