Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaved Sundew)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Droseraceae (Sundew)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; bogs, wet sand
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:2 to 10 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] A one-sided raceme of 3 to 25 stalked flowers at the top of a slender naked stem. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across, with 5 round white (to pinkish) petals, 5 white stamens, single pistil with 3 styles. The 5 green sepals are about as long as the petals. The flowering stem is formed tightly curled and unrolls as flower buds mature, the flowers blossoming in ascending order.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaf blades are green to red, round or nearly so, wider than long, 1/8 to 4/10 inch long and ¼ to ¾ inch wide, the upper surface covered with red, sticky tipped glandular hairs that trap insects, the underside smooth. Leaf stalks are flat with fine glandular hairs, green or red, ½ to 2 inches long, attached in a rosette or spaced out alternately on the lower part of the stem when growing in moss. The flowering stem is smooth and slender, typically red.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruits are ovoid, erect, green capsules on the slender stalk.


There are 4 species of Drosera in Minnesota, plus 1 record of a hybrid (Drosera x obovata), all of which have more or less the same flower and grow in the same kind of habitat. The shape of the leaf blade is primarily what distinguishes one species from another: Spoon-leaved Sundew (D. intermedia) has spatula shaped blades, English Sundew (D. anglica) and Linear-leaved Sundew (D. linearis) are longer and more narrow. Round-leaved Sundew is circumboreal throughout the northern hemisphere and on the Island of New Guinea in the South Pacific. It is the most common and widespread species in Minnesota but its boggy habitat and size (even in sandier locations) makes it often over looked. A carnivorous plant many people are familiar with it from childhood science classes, but for too many people the fascination with plants ended there.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Cedar Creek Natural History Center. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Isanti counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Sharon - Minneapolis
on: 2020-07-18 11:39:47

There are sundews at the Quaking Bog at Theodore Wirth Regional Park. They are tinier than you think and are mixed in with the sphagnum moss, so you must look very carefully to see them. Today there were flower stalks with buds. The bog is a wonderful, other-worldly place to visit.

Posted by: Owen S - Theodore Wirth Park
on: 2020-07-20 09:32:21

Found many of these as well as one group of pitcher plants in the quaking bog. They are very small and low in the spagnum and the only way I noticed them was by their flower stalks. Unfortunately it looks like this is the only species of Drosera I can find without having to go up north.

Posted by: Katie - Bear Head Lake
on: 2020-08-13 16:34:46

Found groups of these among what I thought was moss at the end of a submerged log. The plants were on the top of the log as it floated in water. Saw on two separate logs. Had to look very close before noticed how unusual they were and that insects were captured in the gel formed inside of the most mature plants. So cool!

Posted by: karl D - Cook County, BWCA, Cherokee Creek
on: 2021-06-26 16:38:03

A 6"x12" colony growing on the exposed end of a submerged log

Posted by: Jane Stevens - Lake Edward Township, near Nisswa
on: 2021-07-14 22:33:04

Found some on a floating bog, tucked into the sphagum moss. So cool to find the sundew with tiny white flowers in bloom!

Posted by: Dan Bera - Hines
on: 2022-08-10 20:06:43

The Neilson Spearhead Center has a bog walk that is surrounded by these blooming beauties.

Posted by: Stanley Gagner - Grand Marais Area
on: 2023-07-24 20:59:24

I've found tons of these all around the lake my cabin is on. I even found them growing on a huge floating fallen white pine. They really are tenacious little things!

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