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Drosera capensis

   (Family: Droseraceae)
Afrikaans: sondouw English: Cape sundew  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.2m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
pH: acid
Biome: Fynbos
Flowering time EDIT
x                     x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower info
  Simple, pink-mauve flowers are borne on a single stem and mature in ascending order
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves radiate from the stem and are made up of a petiole and lamina, the petiole being almost the same length as the lamina. The lamina is flattened and bears knob-shaped tentacles, which are stalked, mucilaginous glands covering the leaf surface. Dense fringes of tentacles occur on the margins while fewer and shorter tentacles occur in the centre. The lower lamina surface is smooth and glabrous.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Tiny black seeds are formed in the capsules
Description EDIT
Free-flowering, robust, carnivorous, evergreen perennial, of varying height. The short, woody stems are rhizomatous below with well-developed roots.
Growing EDIT
Tolerates a variety of soils which low in nutrients. General growth media, 1 part sand or silica grit: 1 peat or sphagnum moss in 10-15 cm pots are ideal. Place the potted plants in a 1-3 cm saucer filled with fresh water to remain moist at all times. Place in a northern or eastern direction for best sunlight if growing indoors. Grow in full sun to semi-shade outdoors.
Distribution EDIT
South-western Cape and can be found in marshes, along streams, permanent seeps or damp areas of fynbos.
History EDIT
Drosera has also been recorded for use against various ailments. Extracts of the leaves were used externally for warts, corns and sunburn. Disorders such as tuberculosis, asthma, coughs, eye and ear infection, liver pain, morning sickness, stomach conditions, syphilis, toothache and intestinal problems were treated internally with teas or extracts made from the leaves. The tea was also used as a tranquilizer and some believe that it has aphrodisiac properties. Anti-spasmodic agents have been found by scientists in some Drosera species.
Ecology EDIT
Flowers are open very briefly for a few hours with good sunlight. The flowers can be pollinated by insects, but are usually self-pollinated. When the seeds are ripe, their capsules open to release the fine, light-weight seeds which fall out and are dispersed near the parent plants.

Probably the most interesting characteristic of this plant is its ability to digest the nutrients, especially the nitrogen it requires from insects caught in its stalked tentacles. The tentacles are sensitive and mobile. The stalks end in a bulbous head in which the glandular cells occur. These glands secret a glistening, sticky, clear fluid used to trap and retain prey. There is speculation that the fluid is slightly sweetly scented to attract insects. The fluid contains a weak acid and enzymes that digest the soft parts of its prey. The sensitive tentacles are able to detect caught prey and produce more dew to entrap their victim. Neighbouring tentacles then mobilize and slowly lean over to engulf the hapless victim.
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