Rare carnivorous plant rediscovered in northern Wisconsin for first time in 40 years

A rare carnivorous plant was rediscovered in northern Wisconsin for the first time in 40 years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said last month. 

The DNR’s Rare Plant Monitoring Program released its annual report, noting the discovery. According to the report, the plant, English sundew, was spotted by a volunteers while they were kayaking in Ashland County. 

The DNR contacted a professor at Northland College in Ashland, who canoed to the site with some students and confirmed the identity of the insect-eating plant. English sundew (Drosera anglica) is one of 15 carnivorous plant species in Wisconsin. Like other sundews, it is found in fens and bogs. 

The plant has stalked glands across its leaves. The sticky glands emit sweet secretions that attract small insects, which then become stuck to the leaf.

“Soon more glands bend glands bend toward the ensnared prey, and the entire leaf curls around it, more like a boa constrictor than a plant. Eventually the insect dies from exhaustion or asphyxiation,” according to the report. 

The Rare Plant Monitoring Program trains and sends volunteers to check on the health and size of rare native plant populations. 

Over the last year, volunteers discovered 59 never-before-seen populations of other rare plants in Wisconsin.