Spoon-Leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia)


Spoon-leaved sundew is an easy-to-grow bog species that thrives in waterlogged peat. It self-seeds freely and is a perfect companion for pitcher plants, bog orchids, and other acid-loving obligates. Note: Drosera intermedia, like all temperate sundews, requires a dormant period of at least four months.

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Spoon-leaved sundew (Drosera intermedia) is a fascinating little carnivore that captures and digests insects using sticky glands that cover its leaf surfaces. The insects are used to supplement the poor mineral nutrition of the soil in which the plants grow. Like other native sundews, it requires a moist, acidic substrate  and will tolerate saturated conditions. It is fully hardy, even in northern areas. It emerges in spring and develops its characteristic green leaves with red tentacles. Spoonleaf sundew blooms from June through August. Its modest white flowers borne on tall inflorescences. During its winter dormancy, spoonleaf sundew forms small round resting buds, called hibernacula.


Spoonleaf sundew emerges in spring and develops its characteristic green leaves with red tentacles. It generally blooms from in mid to late summer, bearing modest white flowers on tall stems. Seed capsules are inconspicuous and develop during fall, maturing in November in the southern Great Lakes region. Drosera intermedia and D. rotundifolia may hybridize with each other.


Spoonleaf sundew is classified as an obligate (OBL) wetland species, meaning it is generally restricted to sites that provide continually moist or wet situations. It is characteristic of Sphagnum bogs. Also, it will grow in moist acidic sand soil among sedges, or in mossy places on the wet borders of lakes, ponds, or ephemeral pools.


The term droseros comes from the Greek word for “dewy” and refers to the moist, glistening glands on the leaves, to which small organisms stick. The term intermedia means intermediate. Other common names for the species include spoonleaf sundew, narrow-leaved sundew, oblong-leaved sundew, spatulate-leaved sundew, water sundew


Spoon-leaved sundew (Drosera intermedia) is circumboreal throughout the northern hemisphere, but also occurs along the Atlantic coastal plain and along the Gulf Coast. Apparently, it is even found at higher elevations in Cuba and South America,


Depending on habitat, some of its showier associates include roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), grass pink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus), rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides), northern pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea var. purpurea), common meadowbeauty (Rhexia virginica), and colic-root (Aletris farinosa).


The NC State Extension website has a nice profile of spoon-leaved sundew.

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