Buds N Bugs: Sundews

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 02:29 PM.

All species of sundew are able to move their tentacles in response to contact with digestible prey. The tentacles are extremely sensitive and will bend toward the center of the leaf to bring the insect into contact with as many stalked glands as possible.

The flowers of sundews are held far above the leaves by a long stem. This separation of the flower from the traps was once thought to be an adaptation meant to avoid trapping potential pollinators but recent research found insects commonly trapped by sundews are different species from their pollinators. Botanists now think the tall flower stalks probably help raise the flowers to a height where they are noticeable to pollinators.

The root systems of most Drosera are often only weakly developed, serving mainly to absorb water and to anchor the plant to the ground. The roots are relatively useless for nutrient uptake.

Many species of sundews are self-fertile; their flowers will often self-pollinate upon closing.

The tiny black seeds germinate in response to moisture and light, some species also require cold.

New plants are also produced in some species when specialized roots called stolons come near the soil surface or where old leaves contact the ground.

Sundews were used as medicinal herbs as early as the 12th century. It has been used commonly in cough preparations in Germany and elsewhere in Europe . Sundew tea was especially recommended by herbalists for dry coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma and "bronchial cramps". Today, Drosera is usually used to treat ailments such as asthma, coughs, lung infections, and stomach ulcers.

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