The plant was a sundew (Drosera rotundifolia – ‘Drosera’ from the Greek word droseros meaning ‘dewy’, from the appearance of glistening hairs on the leaves; ‘rotundifolia’ meaning round-leaved). Sundews have tentacles on their leaves with glandular heads that produce a sticky mucilage that reflects light and attracts insects. Once on the leaves the insects, stuck by the mucilage, struggle to escape, which results in them becoming more covered in the mucilage. In no more than ten seconds their struggles stimulate the plant’s tentacles to bend inwards and the leaves to curl up, trapping the insects which are suffocated. The whole process takes about three minutes. Enzymes are then produced by the plant from glands and the insects are eventually digested. So there you have it – grisly, unquestionable evidence of one genus of plants ‘feeling’ the dying struggles of their insect prey.
Carnivorous plants are adapted to growing in places where soils are deficient, particularly in nitrogen, like acidic bogs, compensating for the deficiencies by trapping and digesting animal life. There are estimated to be some 200 species of Drosera worldwide (only one in Derbyshire – Round-leaved Sundew plants are rare, but they can be found in areas of wet peat and sphagnum moss in the moorlands of the Dark Peak) and at least 583 other carnivorous plant species that attract, trap and kill prey, many of which deploy the sense of touch in the process. The biggest is a pitcher plant, Nepenthes raja, which grows in Malaysia and is said to be capable of trapping and digesting small mammals.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Peak National Park and Ride
Andrew Griffihs asks what the future holds for transport in the Peak National Park and talks to Julian Glover about his Landscapes Review
Mike Smith explores the village of Bradbourne, which has a particularly poignant tale to tell
What lies beneath
Exploring the hidden depths of Ladybower Reservoir, which conceals secrets of a fascinating past
Battle for our birds
Paul Hobson analyses our complex relationship with birds of prey and how these fascinating birds are fairing in Derbyshire
Explore the Peak Forest
A walk through autumn fields and forests with far reaching views enriched by snippets of mystery, romance and the area’s industrial past
Pictures to transport you
Chesterfield photographer David Keep continues his photographic journey, this time recalling his favourite landscape images from around the world
The magic of Christmas
Ideas for days out, gifts and where to find local produce in Derbyshire this festive season
PENNY for the Guy
We take a look at Derbyshire’s bonfire tradtions through history
From hardship came happiness
Pat Ashworth speaks with Chesterfield based retired Colonel John Doody about his inspiring life, from a diffiult childhood to overcoming diversity and finding happiness
A place to call home
Lady Edward explains to Derbyshire Life why Haddon Hall is so much more than 900 years of history
Learn Why These Colorful Plants Thrive in Lake Placid
Learn why these colorful plants thrive in lake placid
Industry Sees Plant Trends Taking a Turn
Expect to see more eco-conscious and unconventional plants in homes and gardens for 2020, according to horticultural experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The Joy of Flowers
Transplant rebirths an abandoned home and acreage into a flower wonderland
In The Spotlight: Cooking With CBD
Cooking with CBD How Leah Vanderveldt, author of The CBD Kitchen, harnesses the powers of this trendy plant to create a host of healthy dishes
Your CBD Questions Answered
CBD has gained notoriety for relieving pain, sleep problems, and many other ills, but it’s also surrounded by confusion. To clear things up, here are the answers to some common questions.
Multiply Your Plants
Follow these steps to grow more of your favorites for free.
All Things Bright And Beautiful
Before the Industrial Revolution, London was awash with wildflowers. Jack Watkins traces their history and finds that, if given a chance, these opportunistic plants may still return
The Allure Of Lavender!
This herbaceous plant, a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, is so famous that its common name is even used to describe a colour. Most of us will associate the term lavender with a gentle shade of light purple that symbolises elegance, refinement, serenity, purity and luxury – the latter two probably due to the Latin word ‘lavare’, which means to bathe and to wash. One can just imagine how the conquering and decadent Romans bathed in bunches of lavender sprigs and flowers, draped their newly washed togas over the bushes to permeate them with the fresh smell, and stacked dried stems of leaves and flowers in dark corners to repel plague-infested fleas!
Rhododendron...And On And On!
Here's one rhode map that’s a blooming marvellous way to take us further out of lockdown.
How Can I Get Better Cobs?
A Sowing sweetcorn under cover in mid-April is text-book correct and should have given your plants sufficient time to yield well. This is a frost- tender crop, and shouldn’t be sown outdoors until around mid-May or planted out when likely to be exposed to late frosts. Some cultivars that are treated to ideal conditions will deliver two cobs per plant. However, as with all gardening, there can be pitfalls along the way.