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Drosera rotundifolia - L.

Common Name Sundew, Roundleaf sundew
Family Droseraceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet and moist places in poor peaty soils, occasionally forming a floating fringe on small ponds[4, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain but excluding he Mediterranean, N. Asia, N. America..
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Drosera rotundifolia Sundew, Roundleaf sundew

Drosera rotundifolia Sundew, Roundleaf sundew


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Drosera rotundifolia is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Curdling agent

The juice of the plant is used to curdle plant milks[177, 183]. You heat the milk and the leaves together in order to make the milk curdle[7].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antibacterial  Antibiotic  Antispasmodic  Demulcent  Expectorant  Homeopathy  Hypoglycaemic  Warts

The sundew has a long history of herbal use, having been popular for its fortifying and aphrodisiac effects[238]. It relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, easing breathing and relieving wheezing and so is of great value in the treatment of various chest complaints[254]. The plant has become quite rare and so it should not be harvested from the wild[254]. The flowering plant is antibacterial, antibiotic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, expectorant and hypoglycaemic[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 165, 172, 222, 238]. The plant is used with advantage in the treatment of whooping cough, exerting a peculiar action on the respiratory organs[4]. It is also used in the treatment of incipient phthisis, chronic bronchitis and asthma[4]. Externally, it has been used to treat corns, warts and bunions[257].The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use[7]. Use with caution[21]. Internal use of this herb causes a harmless colouring of the urine[9]. An extract of the plant contains plumbagin, which is antibiotic against a wide range of pathogens[222, 238]. Because of their protein digesting enzymes, the leaf juice has been used in the treatment of warts and corns[4, 222]. The entire fresh plant, harvested when it is starting to flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is used mainly in the treatment of coughs[232] and is specific for whooping cough[7].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Substances in the plant are used to curb the growth of bacteria[13].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a sandy peaty soil, succeeding in poor soils and bogs[1, 200]. Requires a sunny position[238]. An insectivorous plant, it can survive in nitrogen poor soils because it gets the nutrients it needs from insects[1, 7, 9, 200]. The upper surfaces of leaves are covered with hairs that secrete a sweet sticky substance[7].This attracts insects, which become smeared with it and unable to escape - the plant then exudes a digestive fluid that enables it to absorb most of the insect into its system[7].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown thinly as soon as it is ripe into pots of a free-draining soil with some charcoal added and with a layer of finely chopped sphagnum moss on top[175]. Surface sow and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20°c[175]. Grow the plants on in the pots for their first growing season, making sure that the soil does not become dry. Divide the plants in the autumn, grow them on in the greenhouse for the winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Drosera peltataSundewAnnual/Perennial0.3 8-11  LMNMWe02 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Alexandra Steiner   Sat Jun 24 14:19:32 2000

I missed some very important info in your database concerning drosera rotundifolia - to cultivate round-leafed sundew it needs some stratification..!


There are Drosera burmanni in some habitats of Bangladesh.Could you say if this species has any medicinal use ?

   Wed Feb 25 2009

cool site i got an a on my report

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