Plant of the Week
Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia Hayne)
By Kim Pierson
Spoon-leaved Sundew is an “insectivorous” species, meaning that it traps insects on the sticky hairs of its leaves and then digests them for the nutrients. Typical habitat of the Spoon-leaved Sundew consists of bogs, fens, shallow water, and peat lands (especially in Idaho). These areas are low in nutrients. The Sundew has adapted its own methods of nutrient collection. Insects are used as a source of additional nutrition. Various insects are lured by this plant and then trapped by the hairs on the leaves. The leaves are triggered to roll up and trap the insect. The insect is then digested and its nutrients absorbed.
Spoon-leaved Sundew can grow two to eight inches tall but are typically low growing, with small flowers ranging in color from white to pale pink. The flowers are only ¼ inch in diameter and bloom in early spring in most areas where it occurs.
Spoon-leaved Sundew is distributed globally throughout North America, Europe, Asia Minor, and Cuba. In Idaho, however, it is located in only TWO completely separate areas: the Selkirk Mountains in Boundary County (Bonners Ferry is the closest town) and the Sawtooth Valley in Custer County (Stanley is the closest town). Spoon-leaved Sundew is found within the Sawtooth Valley Peatlands Research Natural Area.
Drosera intermedia is not currently recognized as occurring in Idaho in the PLANTS database. The Forest Service has submitted the spoon-leaved sundew's locality data to the PLANTS database and is awaiting for verification to add Idaho for the plant's distribution.