species of the week #44 – great sundew

The great sundew is a bog plant from the fascinating genus of carnivorous plants. It is one of only three species that also occur in Central Europe. After bog renaturation measures, the related lesser sundew could be found again in the Hunsrück Ochsenbruch bog. Extensive bog restoration could also bring the great sundew back to Rhineland-Palatinate.

Distribution status
extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate

Remaining deposits Allgäu, Feldseemoor in southern Black Forest
Last sighting in rhineland-palatinate Kaiserslautern, probably 1992
Habitat bogs, wetlands
Threat climate change, drainage, eutrophaction

The name sundew comes from the Greek word “drosos”, which translated means “dew”. The name is derived from the appearance of the secretion drops, which sit at the ends of the tentacle tips and glisten like dew drops in the sunlight.
The leaves of the plants are between 35 and 95 millimeters long. The leaf blade is 15 to 35 millimeters long and 2 to 5 millimeters wide and – typical for the genus – is covered with reddish tentacles.
With its leaves it mainly catches flies, but also smaller butterflies or dragonflies. Within minutes the tentacles bend onto the catch, the leaf blade itself follows within a few hours. Only after the digestion process is complete does the leaf unfurl again.
In Germany, the great sundew is the rarest of the native sundew species and therefore particularly worthy of protection. They like full-sun locations along water channels in submontane and montane upland bogs, in intermediate bogs and fens, usually together with sphagnum mosses. Unusually for a sundews, great sundew is relatively tolerant of lime. Plants are hardy (with the exception of Hawaiian stands) and tolerate extended periods of frost.

Policy Need:
– Peatland restoration
– Implementation of Natura 2000 management plans

to the further species of the week

Image: By Rosťa Kracík – http://www.darwiniana.cz/vamr/?page=obrazek&id=234, CC BY 3.0 cz, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8737681