Strausbaugh, Perry D. Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
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Any insectivorous plant of the genus Drosera of the family Droseraceae. Sundews (see illustration), which number more than 190 species, are small, herbaceous, insectivorous plants that grow on all the continents except Antarctica. They are especially found in Australia. Formerly considered as part of the order Nepenthales, members are now classified as belonging to the order Caryophyllales. Numerous glandular hairs (tentacles) on the sundew leaf secrete a viscous fluid that traps a visiting insect. The tentacles then bend inward about the victim, bringing it into contact with the surface of the leaf where it is digested. The proteins of the digested insect supply nitrogen, which otherwise may be unavailable to the plant. The droplets secreted by the glands on the leaves glitter like dewdrops in the morning sunlight—hence the name sundew. See also: Caryophyllales; Insectivorous plants; Nepenthales; Secretory structures (plant)
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