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Species of the month[edit]

Cape Sundew[edit]

Drosera capensis digesting an insect

Drosera capensis

Some facts on this plant:

Height: Around 150 mm.

Flower number per plant: 15 to 30.

Range: The Cape in South Africa.

Habitat: Found in marshes, along streams, permanent seeps or damp areas.

Flower apearance: Flowers individually open in the morning and close by mid afternoon, lasting just one day each.

Leaf size: Up to 3.5 cm long (not including the petiole) and 0.5 cm wide.

Conservation status: Not threatened.

First described: By the Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in 1753.

You probably think of flowers as innocuous and sweet, yet Drosera capensis is a dangerous predator. For insects that is. These flying, crawling creatures are attracted to the leaves which secrete a sweetly scented fluid from their tentacles. This fluid has a sticky quality and the insect is trapped and retained. The sensitive tentacles detect the caught prey and produce more dew to secure the victim in the trap. Neighbouring tentacles then mobilize and slowly lean over and engulf the hapless prey. The plant then proceeds to digest the insect and to extract its nutrients, especially the nitrogen. This plant is sophisticated enough to distinguish between a meal and other stimuli such as droplets of water, which the leaf and tentacles ignore. The Cape sundew belongs to the Droseraceae or "the sundew family" which contains about 126 species. The name Drosera derives from Greek word, drosos, meaning dew.

(Archived from Template:Species of the week)