The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: Where do sundews (Drosera) live?

A: Here are some nitty gritty details about the ranges of Drosera in North America. Start by looking at my generalized range maps, to the right. They are useful, although they are based upon broad---and no doubt inaccurate---generalizations. Habitat destruction also contributes to their inaccuracy. The main function is to give you a general idea of areas that are more likely to have Drosera.

For completeness for US citizens, I included maps of Alaska and Hawai'i. The species in Hawai'i is Drosera anglica, found in the Alaka'i swamp, on Kaua'i.

There are eight species in the USA and Canada:

D. anglica
D. brevifolia
D. capillaris
D. filiformis
D. intermedia
D. linearis
D. rotundifolia
D. tracyi

This is a straightforward list, and there are probaby only two reasons other botanists might disagree with it:

1) D. brevifolia Pursh, "D. leucantha Shinners", and "D. annua Reed"
At one point in the past, the fine species D. brevifolia was shortly split into two species, primarily based upon flower color. This was short-lived, and the ephemeral names "D. leucantha" and and "D. annua" are no longer in use.

2) D. filiformis Raf. and D. tracyi Macf.
These two species have been, and still are, frequently treated as two varieties of the same species. Accordingly, you may see them called Drosera filiformis var. filiformis and Drosera filiformis var. tracyi Diels, respectively. I used to follow this perspective, but now I believe that they are best treated as two separate species (Rice 2011a.)

More detailed range information for each species is given below. It is derived from Schlauer (1996) and Schnell (2002), but is supplemented by my own observations and searches of state heritage databases. I would appreciate hearing from regional biologists who might wish to correct my information!

Drosera anglica
USA: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado (1 site), North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Hawai'i.
Canada: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Newfoundland Island.

D. brevifolia
USA: Arkansas, southeastern Kansas, eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia. Possibly Oklahoma, and Kentucky?

D. capillaris
USA: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia. Possibly Tennessee? BONAP also cites MD, DE, AR, which I have not yet verified.

D. filiformis
USA: Massachusetts (Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket, and Dukes Counties); Rhode Island (historical in Washington County, now extinct there); Connecticut (historical in New London and Hartford Counties County, now probably extinct there); New York (Suffolk County); New Jersey (Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties); Maryland (Charles County, and a non-native population has also been found in Prince Georges County); Delaware (probably once in this state, but now extinct there); North Carolina (formerly in seven counties, now only in Brunswick and Pender Counties), Florida (Washington and Bay Counties). Reports for South Carolina are not substantiated, while collections from West Virginia and Pennsylvania are from non-native plantings.
Canada: Nova Scotia.

This species occurs in four general ranges. The northernmost occurrence is an isolated colony in Nova Scotia. The second range, which includes the bulk of the species, is distributed from Massachusetts, southward to Maryland. A third population occurs in North Carolina. Finally, in Florida there are about twelve karst ponds with D. filiformis--I have seen eight of the populations, and do not think that they are introduced. You can read about these in more detail in my 2008 Florida trip report and my 2010 Florida trip report

D. intermedia
USA: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and all other states eastward, up to Maine.
Canada: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland Island.

D. linearis
USA: Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine.
Canada: Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland Island.

D. rotundifolia
USA: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and all states eastward up to Maine, excepting Florida and George (possibly).
Canada: British Columbian, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.

D. tracyi
USA: Florida (all counties west of, and including, Wakulla and Leon; but not Gadsen); Georgia (formerly 8 counties, now only Colquit County); Alabama (5 southern counties); Mississippi (6 southern counties); Louisiana (possibly historically from St. Tammany Parish, presumably extinct). Reports from South Carolina have not been substantiated.

D. ×hybrida = D. filiformis × intermedia
This plant has only ever been observed in New Jersey as a native.

D. ×obovata = D. rotundifolia × anglica
USA: Oregon, California, the Great Lakes province, New England.
Canada: southeastern Canada.

D. anglica × linearis
USA: Michigan.

D. capillaris × intermedia
USA: North Carolina.

D. filiformis × tracyi
USA: Florida (Washington County). Yes, as things currently stand this plant could be called D. ×californica, but I cannot stand using this epithet for a Florida endemic.

Page citations: D'Amato, P. 2001 (personal communication); Kartesz, J. et al. 2009 (BONAP); Rice, B.A. 2006a, 2011a; Schlauer, J. 1996; Schnell, D.E. 1976, 1999b, 2002a; Snyder, I. 2002 (personal communication); Wolf, et al. 2006; personal observation.

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Revised: July 2011
©Barry Rice, 2005