Sundew – Drosera spp.

Overall At-Risk Score: 58

Latin Name:

Drosera spp. (L.)¹; There are more than 150² species globally, and 18¹ in North America
Drosera rotundifolia (L.) being the most common in North America

Common Name:



Droseraceae (Sundew Family)

Geographic Region:

Found most frequently in the temperate bogs of the eastern United States and Canada.


Most of this genus requires seasonal or constant wetness and very low nutrient content, some species thrive in sphagnum filled wetlands. Full sun is necessary for this small plant, making it very susceptible to overcrowding.


Perennial; can be long-lived and will form thick clumps of clones


A stout flowering stock grows up from the basal leaves, topped with a cluster of small white-green flowers. These flowers produce many tiny seeds that are dispersed the wind, animals, and water.
Drosera sp. also reproduces asexually by growing a genetic copy of itself from an axillary buds.

Ability to withstand disturbance and over harvest:

Status of Endangered/Threatened(by state):

Though no species are federally protected, most states have their own protections
CT, FL, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, ME, NY, OH, RI, TN, WI all have one or all of their Sundews under legal protections.³Endangered species in: ME, KY, MD, FL, OH³

Part of Plant Used/Active Medicinal Compounds:

The whole plant is frequently used in tea to normally treat breathing issues and break up chest congestion. Naphthoquinones are what gives the plant its antispasmodic effects.

Vulnerability of habitat/changes of habitat quality and availability:

North American Drosera sp. are reliant on bogs, fens, and other delicate wetland ecosystems; this makes their habitat rare and incredible sensitive, as well as always shrinking.

Demand and Relative Acreage Needed to Meet Demand:

There is no available data on the commercial sale of Drosera sp.

Wild Harvesting Impact On Other Species:

The low nutrient wetlands this genus relies on are very delicate and any human activity or gathering may cause damage to populations of the wildlife and plants in that area.

Recommendations for industrial and home use:

Wild harvest of this plant should be prohibited. Many nurseries grow and sell large volumes of these plants as houseplants, making this herbal medicine widely available to most of the US.

  1. USDA Plants. Drosera sp.
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica. Sundew.
  3. USDA. List of Threatened and Endangered Plants. Drosera sp.
  4. University of Michigan Medicine. Health Library. Sundew.
  5. Michigan State University. Drosera rotundifolia