Drosera anglica

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Mikinalo

Hawaiian Names

  • Mikinalo

Common Names

  • English sundew
  • Great sundew


  • Drosera longifolia

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1

Mature Size, Width

Tropical forms, such as the Hawaiian form, of Drosera anglica are generally smaller than the temperate forms. Large specimens can reach 2-3 inches high. Plants should not form a stem as do temperate forms. [2]

Life Span

Short lived (Less than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Container
  • Indoor

Additional Landscape Use Information

Mikinalo would not be suitable for the average outdoor landscape and are usually grown as a novelty. They can be grown outdoors in full sun containers that supply very wet conditions. Traps will form bright red dew drops in full sun.

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White
  • White

Blooming Period

  • Summer

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

If fed, mikinalo will flower when very young from seed. If you feed them a lot, they will produce an abundance of large seeds. [2]

Always feed mikinalo with insects, NEVER with meat such as chicken, beef or pork or the like. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green
  • Red

Additional Leaf Color Information

Leaves are light green or yellowish-green with bright red dew drops, especially in bright light or full sun.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

If grown outdoors, keep slugs and snails in check. These can do great damage to the plants in a short time. Copper tape can be used around the exterior top rim of pots.

Mold or fungus can grow on insects not utilized by the plants. If this begins to happen, remove them if plant does not digest them.

Aphids and/or scale can appear on flower stems and flowers. If these become a nuisance, especially if you are planning to collect seeds, use a diluted solution of an "insecticide" (preferably natural, e.g. neem oil, peppermint soap) and dab on the area with a cotton swab or a similar instrument.

leaf Growth Requirements


Always feed mikinalo with insects or other arthropds (i.e. spider, crustaceans). NEVER use meat such as chicken, beef, pork or the like. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

If plants are grown outside, additional feeding by human hands should be rare. There are enough insects around to keep your plants healthy and thriving. Remember the bright red dewy traps are beacons for insects!

DO NOT USE FERTILIZERS of any kind with mikinalo as it will severely harm or kill them. Carnivorous plants, such as mikinalo, naturally grow in nutrient poor soils and get all their fertilizer needs from the prey they trap. They will attract insects themselves but an occasional tiny insect can be supplemented. Again, never use raw meat as a substitution for insect prey.

If insects are not readily available, use can use small amounts of flake fish food or very tiny bits of fresh water fish, but again, should not be used as an ongoing substitution for insects themselves. Experiment with these prey alternatives by feedings, perhaps on a single trap to see if accepted (traps folds over, remains green and opens again) or is rejected (trap blackens and soon dies). [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Insect prey are vital for proper growth. If not fed, the plants will grow very slowly and will produce few, if any, flowers. [2]

Pruning Information

The brown leaves may be carefully trimmed away if mold appears. This especially occurs after capturing prey. However, if there is no indication of mold, they may be allowed to remain on plant and thus ensuring full value of nutrients by each leaf. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Water Requirements

  • Wet

Additional Water Information

Mikinalo need constant moisture to survive. The water quality must be pure, such as distilled, purified or rain water. Tap water without filtration should generally be avoided. Spring water is questionable and perhaps depends more on the source. Best to avoid it altogether if unsure of the source.

DO NOT use alkaline or Kangen water! These types of water contain added minerals has a high pH (7.0+), which is exactly the opposite for the needs for sundews and other carnivorous plants. Sundews need to be provided with as mineral-free water as possible. [6]

A shallow water tray can be placed under the pot but water level should never cover the crown of new growth in the center of the plant. Change the water frequently.

Leaves should have numerous dewdrops, which indicates that they are recieving a sufficient amount of water. An indication that mikinalo is not getting sufficient water is the that dewdrops on the leaves will lessen or disappear altogether. Should you see the leaves with no dewdrops, you may need to raise the water level in the tray the pot is in. Soon, within a day or so, dewdrops should appear again--a sign of a healthy plant.


Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Mikinalo, as with most sundews, do best in very bright light or full sun provided that the growing pots are moist or wet at all times.

Spacing Information

Not a critical factor, but perhaps a few inches a part to show case each plant. Mikinalo do like nice, though, en masse.


  • Waterlogged Soil


Not a typical landscape plant.

These plants should never be grown in average commercial potting soils, as many contain fertilizers and other non-essential ingredients that will kill sundews. Because sundews (Drosera spp.) grow in nirogen deficient and nutrient poor soils, please keep in mind that they primarily get their nutrients from the prey they capture and digest and not from the soil. [5]

Rather, use an equal mixture of peat moss and perlite, or peat moss and/or horticultural sand.*

Mikinalo do not like high winds which "dry" out the dew on the leaves making them look almost dead. However, as winds subside, the dew drops will come back. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]


* Never use beach sand or builders sand, which retain salts and will guarantee a speedy death for these salt-sensitive plants! Horticultural grade non-beach sand can be purchased at aquarium shops or pet stores. If there is a need to wash the sand prior to use with tap water, be sure to give provide final rinsing several times with purified, distilled or rain water before planting.

Please see Special Growing Needs below.

Special Growing Needs

Keep mikinalo above 60°F. If subjected to low enough temperatures for an extended time, dormancy could be encouraged. Plants can handle temperatures above 90°F. Though temperate forms of Drosera anglica will experience dormancy, the tropical forms such as those in the Hawaiian Islands, do not require this and can be grown year round. [2] Due to the humidity levels in Hawaiʻi, mikinalo do not need to be grown in terrariums.

Round pots (8") or deep square planting pots (27"x12"x10") can be used. These helps to reserve water even in the hottest summers at least some water in sure to remain in the bottom and by means of capillary action they should never dry out. Planting pots with no draianage holes at where you want to water level to stop can be drilled. Even in very heavy rains, the drainage holes will empty the water to the desired level. Mikinalo can even stay submerged for a few days with no lasting harm. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Aaron May notes a growing method for this tropical sundew. Citing Sherwin Carlqusit, he writes that "Most bogs in Hawaiʻi contain mud, small pockets of standing water, and tussocks formed from grasses and sedges (Carlquist 1970)." [2,5] May then adds, "This mud is basically comparable to waterlogged peat. Even though the non-native "sphagnum moss is only found in bogs on the Kohala bogs on the island of Hawaiʻi," tropical Drosera anglica still grow well in sphagnum moss." [2]

Certainly they are associated with sphagnum in many parts of their worldwide range. [1] Mikinalo grow well in other bog mosses as well.

Aaron May says "a mix of 1 peat: 1 sand: 2 live sphagnum moss is my favorite mix. This keeps the plant healthy and allows the live sphagnum to thrive." [2] Builders or beach sand should never be used.

Please review Growth Requirements.

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This species (Drosera anglica) is a common species and ranges across the northern temperate regions of North America (Canada, Alaska), Europe, and Asia, but is found as far south as Spain, Japan, California, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Common in bogs on the island of Kauaʻi (Alakaʻi Swamp, Kanaele Bog). Mikinalo, as with other sundews, are typically found growing in wet, nutrient deficient "soils." One source records a low elevation range of 555 feet (169 m). [4]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Mikinalo (Drosera anglica), a member of the Sundew family (Droseraceae), consists of about 200 species from temperate to tropical regions worldwide.

This is the only carnivorous plant native to the Hawaiian Islands. The form found in the islands is distinct from those found in the northern hemisphere.


The generic name is derived from the Greek droseros, dewy, refers to the reddish dew-like droplets on the leaves produced by the glandular hairs.

The specific epithet anglica is Latin for England, scientifically described by William Hudson in 1778, London, England. [1,3]

Hawaiian Name:

Mikinalo literally means "to suck flies."

Background Information

This interesting plant is indigenous and likely got to the Hawaiian Islands by seeds embedded in the muddy feet of migrant shorebirds from Alaska, such as Lesser golden-plover (Pluvialis dominica). [5]

Sundews produce droplets that ensnare insect prey to extract and digest the nutrients from their tiny victims.

The plants from Kauaʻi are smaller and more compact plants compared to other D. anglica forms. Too, they do not experience a winter dormancy as do the northern plants.

So, Here's the Drama:

The leaves of sundews are covered with mucilaginous (sticky) glands, uh, we'll, called "tentacles." These tentacles are used to attract, trap and digest arthropods (insects, spiders). The insect, let's say a gnat, is initially attracted by the bright red dots of dew. The gnat, thinking this will be a nectar source, alights on the viscous leaf only to find it has been duped into a false hope. Perhaps only a leg or two gets stuck and the gnat may actually be able to get away unharmed. But as the gnat struggles, another leg is entrapped, then another, and another. With time, the wings, the abdomen and finally becomes so bogged down with the gluey dewy leaf that the critter can hardly move. The tentacles very slowly, but methodically, begin folding over the gnat. Sometimes you can actually witness the movement of the tentacles. It will eventually totally cover the entire critter in what looks like "gnats-in-a-blanket." This is done for maximum digestion. But, by this time the unfortunate gnat has died of exhaustion or asphyxiation. Sadly, the gnat will never be able to learn from its mistake. Once the sundew has digested its prey, the leaf will unfurl, leaving only the exoskelaton (bugs wear their skelaton on the outside) to be washed off by rain or blown away by the wind. The tentacled leaf produces more beautiful red dots of arthropod-terror, now poised for another naïve victim.

Early Hawaiian Use

Not known.

Modern Use

Currently, mikinalo being grown by few individuals here and abroad as a novelty plant.

Mikinalo does not appear to have any commercial landscape value. In a typical backyard Hawaiian garden, this species would not survive. However, these carnivorous plants do well in an indoor environment with sufficient moisture, food, and bright lighting. They also do well outside in Hawaiʻi if guidelines under "Growth Requirements" (above) are observed.

Mikinalo is such a fascinating plant that it is hoped that our native form will be grown more here in it's home--Hawaiʻi nei.

Additional References

[1] "Drosera anglica Huds. (English sundew): A Technical Conservation Assessment" by Evan C. Wolf, Edward Gage, and David J. Cooper, Ph.D., pages 10-11.

[2] GrowSundews.com http://www.growsundews.com/sundews/anglica_tropicals.html#Habitat_Information

[3] "Celebrating Wildflowers, Plant of the Week" http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/drosera_anglica.shtml [Accessed 8/3/11]

[4] "Back to the Future in Caves of Kauaʻi--A Scientist's Adventures in the Dark" by David A. Burney, pages 71-72.

[5] "Hawaii: A Natural History" by Sherwin Carlquist, pages 88, 347, 349, 351.

[6] Sarracenia Northwest, Jeff Dallas http://www.cobraplant.com/

leafMore Links

Back to Plant List

Plant List