Incredible New Species of Carnivorous Plant Found in Kentucky
Don't worry! This story does not start with a total eclipse of the sun or the purchase of a mysterious "mean green mother from outer space" taking over a flower shop on Skid Row.
The star of THIS show is a carnivorous plant discovered in the Cumberland Plateau of Eastern Kentucky. The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves announced that two of their botanists, Toby Shaya and Devin Rodgers found the Round-leaved Sundew as they were exploring a remote area to monitor other rare plant species. Look how absolutely gorgeous it is!
Carnivorous Plant Native to Kentucky Found
The Sundew plants were located "in a remote gorge in the Cumberland Plateau on a sunny, wet cliff above a stream clinging to small, moss-covered cracks in the sandstone bedrock." The nature preserve went on to explain that even though the area of the gorge was not a good environment for growth, because the Sundew receives most of its nutrition from captured insects, it can still thrive.
What is a Sundew?
Drosera rotundifolia is an alien-looking species with round leaves that grow little spiky "hairs" all over. Little droplets of a nectar-type liquid form on the ends of the spikes that look like dew, hence the name. This attracts flying insects and other bugs to come near. When they do, the insects become stuck to the "dew" as the little tentacles curl around them to leech nutrients from the captured prey.
Why is a Sundew in Kentucky Such a Rare Find?
Until now, this plant was not known to grow in Kentucky. This is the first of its kind found in the wild here in the state. According to the Kentucky Nature Preserve's announcement,
"This species occurs throughout the northern hemisphere and is more locally abundant in central Ohio along with the mountains of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. It’s location in the Cumberland Plateau is a notable western disjunction for Southern Appalachian populations. With only one known population, the plant was ranked as S1 with a status of Endangered at the state level."
This is such an amazing discovery! I remember learning about this plant when my son was little. He used to love watching Bill Nye the Science Guy so we incorporated his videos into his schoolwork when we were stuck home during COVID. I used to ask Rollins for inspiration when I felt the creative itch to paint and a few years ago, he requested a painting of...a Sundew.
So we have this hanging in our house. It's not exactly realistic, but it was a fun piece of pop art of a really cool little plant.
LOOK: 20 of the strangest natural phenomena in America
Gallery Credit: Martha Sandoval