Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pink Sundew - Drosera capillaris   Poiret
Members of Droseraceae:
Members of Drosera with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Nepenthales » Family Droseraceae
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DistributionOccurs in every county in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills region. However, sparingly present in the northern Coastal Plain, and no records yet for north of Albemarle Sound (though still within the overall range of the species). Ranges barely into the eastern Piedmont, with isolated records for the western Piedmont in Iredell and Burke counties.

This Southern species ranges north to DE and MD on the east to southern AR and eastern TX, and south to the Gulf Coast and throughout FL. It is sparsely distributed inward of the Coastal Plain, but it does range into TN.
AbundanceFairly common to common in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, being the most numerous "carnivorous" plant in the state. Of course, this refers mostly to protected sites, as it is mostly infrequent on private lands. Rare in the northern Coastal Plain and the extreme eastern Piedmont, and extremely rare farther west.
HabitatThis is most widely occurring carnivorous species in terms of requiring only a tiny amount of habitat. Though it is primarily a pine savanna species, being as small as it and Drosera brevifolia are, D. capillaris is more readily found in scrapes, ditches, other muddy places, seeps, and powerline clearings that mimic a savanna than in the middle of a savanna (where it can easily be smothered by taller vegetation). Schnell, in his Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada (1976), states "I always think of it as the minimal carnivorous plant, since if a likely location for carnivorous plants can support only one species it will probably be the hardy D. capillaris."
PhenologyA wide blooming period, from May into August, and fruits shortly after flowering. This species can bloom with the spring-flowering D. brevifolia, but D. capillaris is more typically a summer-flowering species.
IdentificationThis is a rather tiny carnivorous plant, being slightly larger than its cousin D. brevifolia, with which it may occur in the same scrape or mud patch. The roughly 10 or more leaves are in the typical "sundew" rosette, lying close to the ground and spreading out like spokes on a wheel. The rosette averages about 1.5 inches across. The leaf shape is more obviously two-parted than in D. brevifolia, with the narrower petiole being about 2/3-inch long, and the very sticky blade being elliptical with a rounded tip, being about 1/3-1/2-inch long. In this species, the blade is longer than wide, whereas the very similar D. rotundifolia (mostly occurring in the mountains but sparingly within the range of this species) has a blade that is somewhat wider than long. As with all sundews, the leaves are strongly reddish in color or at least red-tinged. The scape (flowering stalk) is typically glabrous (to rarely pubescent but never glandular) and reaches 4 inches tall, with the flowers, in a spike or narrow raceme, usually being pink (but can be white). The spread flowers, with 5 petals, are about 1/2-2/3-inch across. D. brevifolia typically has 1) wedge-shaped leaves that almost block out the ground between them, 2) white flowers, and 3) glandular and clearly hairy flower stalks. D. rotundifolia has leaves with the blade round or wider than long. At times the more "leafy" D. intermedia can be confused with D. capillaris, but the former has narrow and long petioles, normally 1-2 inches long, and the leaves usually branch off of a vertical stem and not essentially coming off a stem that is at ground level. As mentioned above, this is a rather easy species to find, as long as you look carefully in muddy or other open, damp ground near savannas and other acidic wetlands.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Seldom used is Spathulate-leaved Sundew.
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSame data. 12 July 2015. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, wet roadside seep by East Prong Juniper Creek. 12 July 2015. ScotlandPhoto_natural
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