Drosera capensis


Drosera: dewy

Common Name(s)

Cape sundew


Drosera capensis L.



Brief Description

Low growing herb with distinctive strap-like leaves with sticky red hairs, each growing from a central axis (like a dandelion), with tall flower stems (up to 30 cm tall) with a number of bright pink flowers arranged at the tip of the flower stalk, the oldest flowers near the base.

Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Only known from two sites in Waitakere District, Auckland.


Dune slack wetlands.


Rosette-forming perennial herb. Leaves bright green, petiolate with a linear ligulate lamina, 8-16 cm x 4-6 mm. Lamina clad in red stalked glandular hairs secreting a sticky mucilage to trap insects and other small invertebrates. Peduncles several per plant, up to 30 cm long, glandular hairy, inflorescence a cyme of many (6-30) rose-pink regular 5-petalled flowers 12-14 mm across. Fruit a capsule, with each scape capable of producing 1000-2000 seeds.

Similar Taxa

Superficially similar to the native sundews, with Drosera arcturi (a montane to subalpine bog species) also having strap-like leaves although these are usually reddish rather than green, with wider petioles with sheathing bases.


Late spring to summer

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


Summer to autumn

Year Naturalised



South Africa

Reason for Introduction

Ornamental plant

Control Techniques

Notify regional council if found.

Life Cycle and Dispersal

Deliberate planting, with subsequent seed dispersal by animals or water.


Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA).

References and further reading

Wikipedia - Drosera-capensis

Grow sundews website - http://www.growsundews.com/sundews/Drosera_capensis.html

Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P.J.; Cameron, E.K.; Ogle, C.C.; Champion, P.D. (2004). Checklist of dicotyledons, gymnosperms and pteridophytes naturalised or casual in New Zealand: additional records 2001-2003. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 797-814.

This page last updated on 13 Nov 2013