Scape. - A few inches high. Leaves. - Rounded, abruptly narrowed into spreading, hairy leaf-stalks; beset with reddish, gland-bearing bristles. Flowers. - White, growing in a one-sided raceme, which so nods at its apex that the fresh-blown blossom is always uppermost. Calyx. - Of five sepals.
Corolla. - Of five petals. Pistil. - One, with three or five styles, which are sometimes so deeply two-parted as to be taken for twice as many.
What's this I hear
About the new carnivora?
Can little plants
Eat bugs and ants
And gnats and flies ?
A sort of retrograding:
Surely the fare
Of flowers is air,
Or sunshine sweet;
They shouldn't eat,
Or do aught so degrading!
But by degrees we are learning to reconcile ourselves to the fact that the more we study the plants the less we are able to attribute to them altogether unfamiliar and ethereal habits. We find that the laws which control their being are strangely suggestive of those which regulate ours, and after the disappearance of the shock which attends the shattered illusion, their charm is only increased by the new sense of kinship.
The round-leaved sundew is found blossoming in many of our marshes in midsummer. When the sun shines upon its leaves they look as though covered with sparkling dewdrops, hence its common name. These drops are a glutinous exudation, by means of which insects visiting the plant are first captured; the reddish bristles then close tightly about "them, and it is supposed that their juices are absorbed by the plant. At all events the rash visitor rarely escapes. In many localities it is easy to secure any number of these little plants and to try for one's self the rather grewsome experiment of feeding them with small insects. Should the tender-hearted recoil from such reckless slaughter, they might confine their offerings on the altar of science to mosquitoes, small spiders, and other deservedly unpopular creatures.
D. Americana is a very similar species, with longer, narrower leaves.
The thread-leaved sundew, D. filiformis has fine, threadlike leaves and pink flowers, and is found in wet sand along the coast.