You do not need to be a rock-licker, tree-hugger, or friend of the bunnies to appreciate the intricacies of the web of life that surrounds us. You might need to sit quietly and pay attention once in a while, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes, though, sitting quietly isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to crawl on your hands and knees into wet sphagnum.
Acidic and poor in nutrients, mats of sphagnum are not a good environment for most plants, unless they can find a way to feed themselves. Sundews have done just that, trapping insects with sticky tentacles and then producing enzymes that slowly turn bugs into soup, which is then absorbed through their leaves.
I once told someone where they could see sundews for themselves, cautioning that they are small and live in fragile surroundings. That person came back disappointed, having not seen a one. When I returned to the spot I was disappointed to find the whole area had been trampled underfoot as they searched.
Sometimes, you have to crawl.
Sundews can move their tentacles, curling over their prey and holding it close for more efficient digestion.
They also produce flowers, which will be open any day now. Self-fertile, they can pollinate themselves, producing seeds from which the next generation will sprout.
They feed themselves and they pollinate themselves. Other than poor, acidic soil in a buggy sphagnum patch, what more could a carnivorous plant need?
(More photos of sundews can be found in the new gallery at Nonesuch Mountain Images.)