These photographs were taken along the edge of a small lake in Brandywine Falls Provincial Park during late July (after the conclusion of the Whistler BioBlitz). Between the solid soil of the shore and the body of the lake was a 10-15m (33-50ft) zone of thick sphagnum moss — perhaps the first successional steps in the formation of a raised bog. Within this thin ribbon of moss grew both species of sundews native to British Columbia, Drosera rotundifolia (round-leaved sundew) and Drosera anglica, or great sundew. Despite the descriptor “great”, plants grow to approx. 18cm (7in.) tall. In order to avoid trampling the plants in this fairly fragile plant community, I had to locate individuals growing near the edge of the mossy mat (on the soil side) and photograph them with most of my body on the soil — sloped downward, with the blood rushing to my head.
Great sundew has a circumboreal distribution, occurring in much of central and northern Europe, northeast Asia and northern North America. It can, however, be found as far south as northern California and Portugal. Interestingly, Wikipedia and the International Carnivorous Plant Society both cite the species as also being native to Kauaʻi as a subtropical variant (in which the seeds do not require exposure to cool winter temperatures to sprout), but the USDA GRIN database does not make mention of this as part of the species’ distribution.
As you may note from the second photograph (or the third image, cropped from the second), the species is insectivorous (I was fortunate to see this plant capture its prey while photographing it). Upon capturing an insect with its stalked mucilaginous glands, a thigmotropic response occurs, such that the tentacles, and eventually leaves, surround the prey and maximize digestive surface.
For the interest of local readers, there are usually a few sundews available at the Garden’s annual indoor plant sale in mid-September.