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Drosera capillaris

D. capillaris 'Emerald's envy'.jpg

D. capillaris  'Emerald's Envy', a cultivar with reduced anthocyanin production and white flower

Range: southeast US, Cuba, tropical Latin America


When given a common name this species is usually referred to as the Pink Sundew, and it is a widespread species of the warmer portions of the western hemisphere. Populations are known from Tennessee and Virginia south through all southeastern coastal states in the US, Cuba in the Caribbean (possibly other islands that host suitable swampy habitats), through Mexico and Central America and then across most lower elevation regions of South America to Uruguay and southern Brazil. It typically inhabits sandy soils (sometimes more peat-heavy in North America) that are constantly moist to wet, within bogs, swamps, or sand savannahs. Adult plants may mature at barely 3 cm across, or to over 10 cm depending on population, forming a flat (rarely semi-erect) rosette of paddle-shaped leaves. Petioles are parallel and tend to be flat, glabrous or only sparsely pilose, with a slightly raised midrib, typically abruptly transitioning into the round or triangular lamina that is usually slightly longer than it is wide. Coloration may be almost entirely green, to green with red tentacles or lamina, to solid red. Inflorescences are smooth and up to 5-15 cm tall, with one to several small, nearly white to rich pink flowers bearing ovate to obovate petals (typically color is pale pink). This species is typically distinguished from similar North American species by its distinctive winged petioles and triangular longer-than-wide lamina, from South American relatives by the winged petioles, eglandular and hairless nature of the inflorescence and sepals, and ovoid seed shape.


Cultivation: grow in a 1:1 sand/peat soil (or heavier sand content), kept moist to wet but preferably not inundated for long periods. Temperate forms may tolerate light frosts, but temepratures are best kept for all forms between 65-90°F year-round. Sow seeds on soil surface (no treatment required but they may germinate erratically and take several months to sprout), and grow under strong artificial light to full sun.


Lifespan and reproduction: perennial (may behave as an annual in some hard-frost or drought-prone regions). Reproduces through seed, and can be grown through cuttings or division.


Sources: Robinson et al. (2017). Drosera of the World Vol. 2,3. Redfern Natural History Productions.

D. capillaris  from Hal Scott, FL. My personal favorite form thus far, producing particularly broad lamina that turn red while the petioles stay green or yellow. Flowers are the standard pale pink of the species.

D. capillaris  "Florida Long Arm." Growing as a more typical rosette in winter, this form can reach over 10 cm in summer when it produces semi-erect, very elongate leaves with lengthy petioles. Some think this may have originated as a hybrid with D. intermedia, however it is fertile so may instead represent a unique new species (either altogether or as a polyploid descendant of said hybrid which is typically sterile).

D. capillaris "Ilha do Cardoso, Brazil" is a typical example of the species with small, flat rosettes and pale pink flowers.

D. capillaris Cuba.jpg

D. capillaris "Cuba." This form has some similarities to the "Long Arm" version from Florida, but less pronounced.

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