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Oblong-leaved Sundew

Drosera intermedia

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Droseraceae (Sundew)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, heathland, moorland, mountains, wetland.

White, 5 petals
The inflorescence consists of 3 to 8 small white flowers.
An erect, ovoid capsule.
Spoon-shaped leaves, narrower and about half the length of the similar looking Great Sundew (Drosera anglica). The leaves are stickily hairy, trapping flies upon which the plant feeds. Insectivorous.
Other Names:
Spatulate-leaved Sundew, Spoonleaf Sundew.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Drosera intermedia is a carnivorous perennial plant that is known for its small to medium-sized leaves that are covered in red, tentacle-like structures called "hairs" which are used to capture insects for food. It's native range is from Europe to Asia and North America. It produces small, white or pink flowers that bloom in the summer. It is often used as an ornamental plant, particularly in bog gardens or terrariums. Drosera intermedia can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, but it prefers a damp, acidic soil and a sunny or partially shaded location. It is also used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.


The Oblong-leaved Sundew, or Drosera intermedia, is a carnivorous plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is one of the many species of sundews, which are known for their ability to trap and digest insects using their sticky, glandular leaves. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the Oblong-leaved Sundew and learn more about its unique adaptations and ecology.

Appearance and Adaptations

The Oblong-leaved Sundew is a small plant, typically growing to about 10-15 cm in height. Its leaves are oblong or spatula-shaped and are arranged in a basal rosette. Each leaf has numerous glandular hairs, or tentacles, on the upper surface. These tentacles are covered in droplets of a sticky, mucilaginous fluid that serves as a trap for insects.

When an insect lands on a leaf, the tentacles will begin to move towards the center of the leaf, bringing the insect with them. The more the insect struggles, the more tentacles it will come into contact with, which in turn triggers the production of more mucilage. Eventually, the insect becomes completely engulfed by the sticky fluid, which contains digestive enzymes that break down the insect's body and allow the plant to absorb its nutrients.

Ecology and Distribution

The Oblong-leaved Sundew is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including bogs, fens, and marshes. It prefers acidic, nutrient-poor soils and is often found growing in sphagnum moss or other peat-forming vegetation. In the wild, it blooms from late spring to early summer, producing delicate, pink or white flowers on tall, slender stems.

One of the most interesting things about the Oblong-leaved Sundew is the way it has adapted to its nutrient-poor habitat. Like all carnivorous plants, it has evolved the ability to supplement its diet with nutrients obtained from the insects it catches. This allows it to thrive in areas where other plants would struggle to survive.

Conservation Status

Despite its adaptations and ecological importance, the Oblong-leaved Sundew is currently listed as a species of special concern in many areas where it is found. This is due in part to the destruction of wetland habitats and the draining of bogs and fens for development and agriculture. In addition, the collection of wild plants for horticultural purposes has further reduced its numbers in some areas.

As such, it is important to be mindful of the impact of human activities on the habitats of the Oblong-leaved Sundew and other carnivorous plants. By protecting wetland areas and preserving their unique ecosystems, we can help ensure that these fascinating and ecologically important plants continue to thrive in the years to come.

The Oblong-leaved Sundew is a remarkable plant that has evolved some fascinating adaptations in order to survive in nutrient-poor wetland habitats. Its sticky, glandular leaves and ability to digest insects have allowed it to thrive in areas where other plants would struggle. By learning more about this plant and taking steps to protect its habitat, we can help ensure that it continues to play an important role in the ecosystems where it is found.

More Information

In addition to its ecological importance, the Oblong-leaved Sundew has also captured the interest of many people for its beauty and unique adaptations. As a result, it has become a popular plant for cultivation in home gardens and terrariums. However, it is important to remember that it is still a protected species in many areas, and it is illegal to collect or transplant wild plants without a permit.

Fortunately, many nurseries and online retailers now offer cultivated specimens of the Oblong-leaved Sundew that are grown from seed or cuttings. These plants can be grown in a variety of soil mixtures, but they do require high humidity and lots of bright, indirect light in order to thrive. In addition, they must be watered with distilled or rainwater, as tap water can contain minerals that can be harmful to the plant.

The Oblong-leaved Sundew is a fascinating and important plant that has much to offer both ecologically and aesthetically. By taking steps to protect its natural habitats and promoting the responsible cultivation of cultivated specimens, we can ensure that this remarkable plant continues to capture the imagination of people around the world for years to come.

One interesting fact about the Oblong-leaved Sundew is that it is able to produce a sweet scent that can attract insects to its leaves. This scent, which is produced by the plant's nectar glands, is similar to the scent of flowers, and it can help lure unsuspecting insects to their doom.

Another fascinating adaptation of the Oblong-leaved Sundew is its ability to move its tentacles in response to changes in light and temperature. Studies have shown that the tentacles of some sundew species are able to sense changes in the intensity of light and heat, and will move towards or away from a light source or heat source accordingly. This allows the plant to position its leaves in the optimal position to capture the most insects.

The Oblong-leaved Sundew is also notable for its ability to store excess nutrients in its leaves. Unlike other plants, which store nutrients in their roots, the sundew stores excess nutrients from the insects it captures in its leaves. This allows the plant to continue to grow and produce new leaves even in nutrient-poor soils.

Overall, the Oblong-leaved Sundew is a remarkable plant that has evolved some truly unique adaptations to survive in its wetland habitat. From its sticky, glandular leaves to its ability to sense and respond to changes in its environment, it is a fascinating plant that continues to capture the interest of scientists, naturalists, and plant enthusiasts around the world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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