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Tropical Sundew

Name for a small, compact species of carnivorous plant, with the botanical name Drosera burmannii (fig.). The plant has stalked tentacles that cover its leaf surface, which is green with reddish-purple towards the edge. These tentacles are in fact glands that at the tip excrete glistening drops of mucilage, which resemble drops of morning dew (hence the name), and are used to lure, capture and digest insects. Any insect landing on the plant will trigger its wedge-shaped leaves to speedily curl around the prey in just a matter of a few seconds, making it one of the fastest trapping sundews among the around 200 known species. In Thai, it is known as jok buaay (จอกบ่วาย), and in Isaan the dried plant soaked in alcohol is used medicinally as a beverage to cure oedema, whereas fresh, the plant is crushed and rubbed on skin affected by eczema as an dermatological treatment. The word jok in the Thai name means ‘water lettuce’ and refers to the similarity of the rosette-shaped arrangement of the likewise wedge-shaped leaves in both plants, which otherwise are very different, unrelated species (fig.). See also ton mai kin malaeng.