The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves botanists Devin Rodgers and Toby Shaya discovered the first known population of the round-leaved sundew (drosera rotundifolia) in the Cumberland Plateau.
They announced the discovery on Tuesday, noting that the plants were found on a sunny, wet cliff above a stream, clinging to the small moss-covered cracks in the sandstone bedrock—a harsh environment with virtually no soil.
However, the round-leaved sundew acquires nutrients from insects with the help of its special leaves. The leaves’ glands are covered in sticky secretions that trap prey, dissolve them, and allow nutrients to be absorbed by the leaves.
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According to the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, this species occurs throughout the northern hemisphere but is more common in central Ohio and the mountains of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Since this is the only known population, the round-leaved sundew is considered endangered in Kentucky.