There is something fascinating about those species that go against the grain and seem to defy the usual laws of nature.

In Cumbria, perhaps the champions of this natural world topsy-turvydom are our stunning carnivorous plants. While most plants sit at the bottom of the food chain and feed the animals above, these rogues sit in a loftier position, trapping and digesting insects and other invertebrates for themselves.

Cumbria is home to several native carnivorous plants, including the aquatic Bladderworts, the common butterwort, and the Sundews.

Bladderworts have no roots; they float in still or slow-moving fresh water.

In summer, their yellow flowers can sometimes be seen poking out of the water, but like many aquatic plants they will often not produce a flower at all.

Below the water’s surface they have hollow sacs, or bladders, that trap tiny animals such as water fleas.

Species include greater, intermediate and lesser, but unless they are in flower identifying which is which can be a real challenge, often requiring a microscope.

A familiar sight in Cumbria’s bogs, damp moorland, fens and limestone flushes is the common butterwort, easily recognisable with its bright green, star-shaped rosette of sticky, prey-catching leaves and its small, violet flowers.

Red tendrils, tipped with sticky, dewy droplets that glisten in the sun, extend from the greenish-red leaves of Sundews.

These attract and trap unwitting insects, which are slowly digested as the leaf closes around them.

This adaptation to using dietary supplements has allowed these plants to grow in nutrient-poor acidic soils, much like the common butterwort.

By far the commonest Sundew in Cumbria, and the rest of the country, is the round-leaved Sundew.

Throughout the summer months, keep your eyes peeled when walking across wet heathland or peaty moorland and you are likely to see the small reddish rosettes, often with a white flower atop a tall red stem.

Also present in Cumbria are the oblong-leaved and great Sundews.

The name says it all for oblong-leaved, which has small leaves that narrow towards the stalk. The larger great sundew has narrower leaves and a much taller flowering stem.

These two rare species are perhaps best described as “clinging on," as over the years their natural habitats have been drained, grazed, burnt, polluted, and have suffered peat extraction.

Conservation of our mires and peatlands is essential for the survival of these wonderful, fascinating plants.

Look out for Sundews at Drumburgh Moss Nature Reserve and find out how Cumbria Wildlife Trust is saving Cumbria’s peatlands at