Drosera rotundifolia – round-leaved sundew

Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) is one of the most well-known carnivorous plants, with small white flowers and long-stemmed leaf rosettes. It can grow to 20 centimetres in height.

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It features approximately 200 fine, reddish tentacles that emanate from the surface of the round leaf traps and secrete sticky mucilage. The latter, in the form of droplets, can trap small insects such as flies and mosquitoes which are attracted by the supposed dew drops, hoping to quell their thirst. But the dew drop turns out to be sticky glue that refuses to release its victims. The tentacles wrap themselves around their prey, which is then digested by enzymes that can break down proteins.

The sundew is named after the droplets of secretion on the leaf edges which glisten in the sun like dew drops. The round-leaved sundew is indigenous to Europe, Asia and North America, growing in marshlands and on wet heathland up to altitudes of 1800 metres. It is a rare plant that today may no longer be harvested in the wild. In Germany, it is protected by the Federal Species Protection Ordinance.

The sundew contains a variety of medicinal ingredients: naphthoquinones, enzymes, flavonoids and essential oil. Back in the 12th century, the Italian physician Matthaeus Platearius, from the School of Salerno, described the plant as a herbal remedy for dry coughs under the name “herba sole”. The sundew was also used as an aphrodisiac and to strengthen the heart, as well as for treating sunburn and freckles. It was also used in the 16th and 17th centuries as a remedy for melancholy. In the Scottish Highlands, the round-leaved sundew was used in earlier times as a purple dye.

The homeopathic remedy Drosera, produced from the fresh, flowering plant, is highly regarded for its homeopathic effects. The circumstances under which the symptoms worsen – referred to by Hahnemann as modalities – and for which the agent is indicated, are lying down, getting warm in bed, drinking, singing and laughing. The symptoms also worsen after midnight. Important: The effect of homeopathic Drosera is counteracted by the essential oil camphor.