Sundew is a female LeafWing dragonet and the main protagonist of The Poison Jungle. She is a member of the PoisonWings lead by her mother, Belladonna, and is honored within her tribe due to her powerful leafspeak ability. She is in a relationship with Willow and is currently flying across the sea from Pyrrhia towards Pantala as one of the eleven chosen representatives.
Sundew has a small and wiry shape and a face that is similar to Belladonna's. She has dark forest-green scales that are flecked with gold, and she also has golden scales along the edges of her wings, talons, and across her snout. She wears several small pouches, woven from long grass or fashioned from leaves, which contain venomous insects or useful plants. A pouch that rests over her heart contains a small, smooth jade frog, and there is a pouch under her left wing that is a darker shade of green than the others. She is slightly smaller than Swordtail.
Cricket thinks of Sundew like a dragon who moves like she has already found all the answers to herself. She is a natural leader who uses her fury to keep her going, and when she becomes tired, she thinks of all the things that make her angry. She is bristly, sharp, quick to anger, persuasive, stubborn, intense, brave, brisk, menacing, furious, defensive, fierce, terrifying, and impatient. Her anger is a both a weapon and a safe place for her to go when her emotions become too complicated. She believes that her own yelling is hilarious and morale-boosting, and has a strong moral compass, believing that even the HiveWings should not be subjected to poison at a peace summit. Sundew also appears to dislike jewelry and dressing up garishly. She glares and frowns often, always looking ready for a fight.
The Lost Continent Prophecy
|The Lost Continent|
|Sundew appeared in the second half of the book, asking for her mother's permission to kill Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail and leave their bodies outside the greenhouse. Her mother, Belladonna, immediately disagreed as this would alert the HiveWings that intruders were in the area.
Sundew willingly accompanied Blue and Cricket to the Temple of Clearsight to help them steal the Book of Clearsight, using flower dye and wing-shaped leaves to disguise herself as a SilkWing. Before entering Wasp Hive, she defaced a carving of Queen Wasp, and as described in the book, "raked her claws across the queen's elegant snout." Cricket protested that the vandalism was unnecessary. Sundew responded with, "Wait till I get to her actual face." In the Temple of Clearsight, she paralyzed several HiveWing guards from a distance with blow-darts. Sundew later fought the Librarian, who is always under Queen Wasp's mind control. Although the Librarian was bigger and stronger, Sundew broke her arm and nearly killed her before Cricket intervened. Sundew then freed the Librarian from Wasp's mind control by using bullet ants to bite her, causing unbearable pain, and by extension, Queen Wasp. This made her temporarily leave the Librarian's body.
After the Librarian's room was surrounded by mind-controlled HiveWings, Sundew threw a smoke bomb to distract Wasp from her, Cricket, and Blue's escape with the Book. Instead of helping the wingless Blue fly away, she fought against Wasp's drones with her weapons.
In the ensuing chaos, Blue lost track of the others and didn't know if they escaped the Temple. However, they later made contact with Blue again, with Sundew revealing that they had made a tunnel into the Hive from below. She did this by rapidly growing a plant and using its roots to punch a hole in the wall, showing her leafspeak abilities for the first time. She led them through the tunnel to the sea.After this, Sundew said that she plans to return to the LeafWings to form a new plan to take down the HiveWings. However, when Luna and Swordtail were noticed by HiveWing soldiers, she leaped into the fight to protect them and ended up fighting alone. This was the last Blue saw of her before beginning his Metamorphosis.
|The Hive Queen|
|Sundew appeared when Cricket heard the sounds of another dragon in the caves where she and Blue, still in Metamorphosis, were hiding. Cricket was terrified that the dragon could be another HiveWing, or worse, a mind-controlled one, but her fears were unfounded. Cricket was relieved and asked Sundew what had happened above ground. Sundew explained she led the HiveWings "all the way to Lake Scorpion" before losing them and taking the long way back to the caves. She didn't find Luna, but she did find Swordtail, having likely hit a rock and passed out, and dragged his unconscious, seaweed-covered body into the cavern.
Sundew mentioned that she understood his devotion to Luna, since she "has a one true love herself," but ignored Cricket's questions as to who and continued that Swordtail did leave her fighting two HiveWings alone. Sundew eventually snapped at Cricket, irritated by all the questions, so Cricket offered to get some water for Sundew's injury to make peace. She agreed and gave Cricket a kind of absorbing moss. Cricket was intimidated by the LeafWing's "scowly" expression and decided that "it would be safer to back away for a little while." Sundew then had Cricket use a "weird-looking plant" from one of her pouches to wake up Swordtail, who she claimed was in no state to still be looking for Luna.
When Cricket and Swordtail were talking about Blue's flamesilk status, Sundew admitted her motives with Blue; to use him and his silk to burn down the Hives. Sundew, Cricket, and Swordtail then had a long argument about whether it was the right thing to do, with Swordtail taking sides with Sundew.
Sundew called the Book of Clearsight "completely useless" because it couldn't tell them the future, and then told the others that she would rather have Luna with them as Luna would have jumped to the idea of burning down the Hives, but that she'd settle for using Blue to destroy the HiveWings. Sundew believed that all the HiveWings deserved to be killed for what they did to the LeafWings and their home, except for Cricket. Sundew then tried to get more information about the Chrysalis out of Swordtail, who explained it was an organization of SilkWings who are "fighting [the HiveWings] for [their] freedom."
She agreed to go looking for the Chrysalis after Blue finished his Metamorphosis and try to find a way to defeat Queen Wasp's mind control powers. Eventually, the four decide to find out how to stop Queen Wasp's mind control instead of slaughtering innocent dragons.
Sundew then went to talk with her parents to tell them where she'd been and what to do with the book. She requested more time to create a less violent plan of destroying the HiveWing kingdom than the one in effect. After much argument, Belladonna and Hemlock relented, giving Sundew, Blue, Cricket, and Swordtail two days to make a plan.
Cricket suggested going to Jewel Hive to look for clues, as it was the closest Hive to the group, and the laid-back rules and security would allow them to remain undetected for a longer amount of time. Once they arrived, Sundew once again disguised herself as a SilkWing using gaudy fabrics, much to her humiliation. During their stay, the four made the water tower near Cadelle's house their seat of operations.
At midnight on their first day, Sundew and the others met with the Chrysalis's Jewel Hive branch, though only three members were there, Tau, Morpho, and Cinnabar. Sundew told them about the LeafWing plan to destroy the Hives, and they jumped on the idea, to Cricket's distress.Sundew met up again with Cricket. She watched Bumblebee hatch and discerned what Queen Wasp's poison was made of by the dragonet's eggshell: a plant from the restricted greenhouse she and her parents hid in days earlier. When Bloodworm Hive was attacked by LeafWing forces, she used the chaos and destruction as a cover, having Blue destroy the greenhouse and thus Wasp's source of mind-control poison.
|The Poison Jungle|
|Sundew, Blue, Swordtail, Cricket, and Bumblebee were flying and a flash of yellow and black caught her eye. Sundew hissed and Cricket apologized to Sundew for startling her. Sundew claimed that it didn't.
As they flew closer, Blue asked nervously if the Poison Jungle was as dangerous as the rumors say it is. Swordtail suggested that the LeafWings were spreading stories and exaggerating how dangerous it was so no one else would go there. Sundew laughed, replying that the LeafWings hadn't communicated with any SilkWings or HiveWings since the war, as the LeafWings were supposed to be extinct. Sundew called the LeafWings' extinction both the SilkWings and HiveWings whole goal. Blue protested that it was not his goal, or Swordtail's, or Cricket's. Sundew confirmed the rumors, saying that no one who comes for the trees again will be allowed to live. Blue asked how the LeafWings could be living in the Poison Jungle if it was so dangerous for dragons — Sundew replies that the tribe did not have a choice, saying that the LeafWings adopted for living in the Poison Jungle. After Sundew mentioned carnivorous plants, Swordtail began to panic. Sundew noticed, saying that he would probably get eaten.
Swordtail said that he didn't enjoy the conversation, and changed the topic. They started talking about why they're going there. The Distant Kingdoms was mentioned as the group moved closer to the Jungle.
Sundew hovered over the river and realized that the others had stopped. Cricket marveled at the size of the trees. Blue said that it felt like one big creature and that it almost sounded like it was breathing. Bumblebee started yelling, and Sundew tells her that she could eat when they get to the village. They flew further over the jungle until Sundew opened up a secret way in. Blue asked what they were and Cricket says that she thinks they're called touch-me-nots. Sundew confirmed this, saying that touch-me-nots are one name for them. Swordtail laughed, saying that it sounds super dangerous. Cricket smothered a laugh. Sundew replied that touch-me-nots were probably the least likely to kill a dragon in the Poison Jungle.
Cricket steps on a tree slug and lifts her foot again, which is covered in ooze. "Oooom-yum?" Bumblebee squeals, "Eeee?" Cricket tells her that it's not for eating, and Bumblebee cries "GWOSE!" She wakes a snake up and it narrows its eyes at her. Sundew tells them to keep moving. She slinks through the trees nimble and quick. Swordtail comments that she's like a monkey, not "foodishly," but fast and agile. They stop for a rest, and Blue says that it's like the Hives, high up and smelly, and loud. Swordtail spots a pink book-like flower and goes to sniff it. Sundew yells that he shouldn't touch the plant, but it's too late, Swordtail's nose brushes it, and he is swallowed whole by the plant, which is actually a Venus Dragon-trap. What the readers don't know is that Tui hadn't planned on adding it until she saw how short the book was and then went back and added these sorts of mini-adventures to make it longer.
Sundew tells him to go limp to fool the plant into thinking Swordtail was a rock or a tree branch, however, he was struggling in the plant's mouth too loudly for Sundew to be heard. In a desperate attempt to save him, Blue uses some of his flamesilk to burn the plant. This, however, does nothing and makes the situation worse and lighting some of the nearby plants ablaze. Sundew uses her leafspeak (the ability to control plants) to grow a tree that contains berries with flame-retardant properties, effectively squashing the fire. With Blue's help, she manages to rip the plant's maw open and free Swordtail.
After they free Swordtail, they head for the PoisonWing village with no other difficulties until they get there. Along the way, they encounter Mandrake, Nettle, and Wolfsbane hunting a panther, which, in short, doesn't go very well for Mandrake, and Sundew kills it for him. When they get to the village they are checked to see if Swordtail, Blue, Cricket, and Sundew had any seeds from the Poison Jungle on them, to be sure that none of the dangerous plants get inside of their village. Right when she enters the village, she starts being heckled by her tribe for bringing strangers into the village. Sundew, falsely states that she brought them to the tribe because they were all very useful to their plans to destroy the hives and get their revenge, in an attempt to sway Belladonna into letting them stay.
Under the cover of darkness, Sundew sneaks out of the village and to a secret meeting place, where she meets with her girlfriend, Willow. While she's waiting for Willow to show up, it cuts to a flashback of Sundew aged 2. She's trying to catch a frog that ate her sugar-coated grasshopper and ran away. Sundew, enraged, pursued the frog to the border of the village, but the frog hopped right through, and into the rest of the jungle. Sundew crossed the border and continued the pursuit. She almost caught it, but it slipped through her grasp yet again. The frog hopped right into a nearby pond. Not ready to give up, Sundew grabbed the nearest sharp stick and started furiously stabbing the water to impale the frog. Alas, she failed, and the frog escaped, getting to enjoy its treat. Sundew, having let the frog run off with her dessert, started screaming bloody murder, which a nearby dragon heard, namely Willow.Sundew then thinks Willow has a "sparkly face" and they both end up liking each other. Sundew wants to continue seeing Willow so the next meeting they had, Willow gave her a jade frog. Sundew would leave it on a rock at night and Willow would come.
|The Dangerous Gift|
|Sundew is mentioned in Swordtail's thoughts in the prologue. Swordtail was sent to find Sundew and the other LeafWings by the breath of evil, but was internally relieved that she had fled to the Distant Kingdoms. He desperately hoped that she and the rest of the refugees would come back soon and find out a way to release him and Blue from the othermind's control.
Sundew later arrived in the Ice Kingdom with the rest of the Pantalan dragons. She stood and bristled several times while Hazel spoke to Snowfall, but did not intervene.
Upon arriving at Jerboa's hut, Sundew argued with Cobra Lily about the dragons they have left behind in Pantala. Though Cobra Lily found it fortunate that dragons like Nettle did not come along, Sundew protested for how the dragons who saved their lives are in great danger and they are doing nothing to help them. Sundew was then hugged by Luna. After being asked about Blue and Swordtail, she swears that they will get them back. She, Cricket, Bumblebee, and Willow lead Luna inside of the hut to explain what the she had missed.
When the queens were choosing a dragon to explore the abyss, Snowfall approached Sundew. Snowfall explained that she wanted Sundew to have anything magical that might defeat the villain they were fighting. Sundew was amazed at the prospect of magic. Snowfall then removed the gift of stealth from her wrists and handed the bracelets to Sundew. Sundew put them on, and asked how they worked. Snowfall explained, and then Sundew turned herself invisible, then Willow, then the two of them. She thanked Snowfall and promised to return the bracelets.Sundew is the LeafWing representative for the eleven representatives.
Belladonna is manipulative, and often makes Sundew angry by ruining things. She and her mother are always only moments away from a fight, and Sundew often disobeys her orders. Sundew can vaguely see her mother as a dragon who cares for others, but she knows that Belladonna will never show that side of herself to other dragons. Her mother taught her to summon her anger at a moment's notice, and she often tells Sundew everything that she does wrong, comments on her mistakes, and starts shouting matches when she is the slightest bit aggravated. It is uncommon for Belladonna to compliment her daughter.
Because Blue is so willing to apologize, Sundew finds it impossible and unenjoyable to yell at him. Sundew is often surprised by Blue, from his sister being a flamesilk to him standing up to Queen Wasp. She knows that Blue tries to understand everyone and tried to hide her emotions from him that she believes are weak, like guilt and fear, to show that she is tough. Blue is her friend but tends to side with Cricket on many things, for example, like not setting all the Hives on fire, or painting Jewel Hive with messages of Wasp lying about the Book of Clearsight.
After Sundew gave a dried mango to the newborn dragonet to keep her still, she was mentioned to "give Sundew a worshipful look." She loves Sundew dearly, and while Sundew was visiting the SapWing village, she caught herself hoping that someone would feed Bumblebee while she was away. She was disappointed when Cricket brought Bumblebee to the village and the dragonet was asleep. She was amused when Bumblebee seemed to disagree with Nettle taking charge of their expedition to the Eye of the jungle, and gave her a high-five, much to Bumblebee's delight. Bumblebee seems to completely trust her, and Sundew refers to her as 'little bug.'  Sundew thought that fleeing from battle was worth it, if it meant that Bumblebee would be protected.
Cobra Lily is one of Sundew's friends, and one of her favorite dragons. They are physically affectionate towards one another, and Cobra Lily pointed out once that Sundew should be queen.
Cricket is one of Sundew's friends, and she is often amused by the HiveWing. She teases Cricket, and although Sundew claims to hate all HiveWings, she seems okay with Cricket and has expressed friendly affection for her at various times. She has mentioned that Cricket is "different" from the other HiveWings, possibly due to her insatiable curiosity and immunity to Queen Wasp's mind control powers. Cricket's company also seems to relax Sundew, as she seems more friendly and open than she did in The Lost Continent.
Hemlock often makes Sundew angry. He often tells her everything that she does wrong, comments on her mistakes, and starts shouting matches when he is the slightest bit aggravated. Sundew and her father are not close, but she asked Io to search for her father before fleeing Pantala.
Before the events of The Poison Jungle, Mandrake was Sundew's fiancé. Sundew refused to let Mandrake be injured by a panther, even though that would have made her life a lot easier. He was accepting when Sundew told him she wanted to marry Willow instead, and Mandrake is one of the few dragons that Sundew likes.
Sundew and Nettle's average conversations are usually hostile and argumentative. She felt joy at Nettle's furious scowl after Bumblebee mocked her tone of voice, and she considers Nettle's behavior to be vicious, unproductive, and out of control. Yelling at Nettle gives Sundew energy, and stops her from worrying. She usually considers Nettle to be simply unlikable and irritating, but became genuinely angry towards her after Willow intervened during one of their arguments. Nettle sounded unmistakably triumphant when Sundew was trapped by a sundew plant.
Sundew finds Swordtail amusing, but she is often angry at him without feeling bad about it. She finds yelling at him satisfying, although there are moments where she enjoys his company, and Swordtail considers her to be a leader. Sundew considers Swordtail to be quite rash, yet he started to grow on her. They tend to share the same destructive mindset and are similar in terms of personality. She understands his devotion to Luna, as she also has a lover. In The Hive Queen, Sundew is tempted to leave Swordtail on the shore after trying to find Luna, but ultimately brings him to Cricket.
Willow is Sundew's girlfriend, and Sundew thinks about her all the time. She makes Sundew feel more like herself, and is often gentle, calm, amused and reassuring towards her. They regard one another as mutually beautiful, and when they initially met, Willow made all of Sundew's words bump around in her mind like disoriented moths. Willow helps Sundew feel more calm and less tense, and Sundew finds it impossible to scoff at her. Willow is the only dragon that Sundew looks forward to seeing, and they often laugh together and are very affectionate towards one another. Sundew is gentle towards Willow, and when Willow smiles at her, she feels a funny shiver in her chest. Due to Willow's calm and rational demeanor contrasting her own hot-headedness, one of Sundew's greatest fears is her temper pushing Willow too far, thus ruining their relationship. Even when Willow believed that Sundew had endangered the LeafWings by stealing the Book of Clearsight, she still loved her. Sundew became jealous after seeing Hazel's behavior towards Willow, but Willow assured her that Hazel was just a friend and that Sundew was the only dragon for her. When Willow referred to Sundew casually as her girlfriend to a stranger, Sundew felt unexpected joy, and considered that the second-greatest moment of her life, after meeting Willow. Sundew is comforted by Willow, and found it impossible to pull away from her when she was in emotional distress, even in Belladonna's presence. Willow is one of the only dragons that Sundew is not typically angry with, and she often longs for Willow's company, as she loves Sundew for who she is.
- "Yeah! […] You'll have ME. That's like the opposite of being alone. I can do anything twenty dragons can do."
- ― to Cricket (The Lost Continent, page 188)
- "It's nothing mystical. She wanted a daughter to carry on our family's legacy. She trained me my whole life for one purpose: this."
- ― to Blue (The Lost Continent, page 192-193)
- "I don't know why Willow wants to save your tribe. You're as much of a problem as the HiveWings, with your nodding and smiling and agreeing to let them trample all over you."
- ― to Blue (The Lost Continent, page 197)
- "My guess is Luna got blown out to sea and he tried to follow her. But the storm chucked him into a boulder instead. Which he deserved, if you ask me. Did you see him fly off and leave me fighting two HiveWings alone? I mean, sure, Luna is great and I know he just got her back and all and I get it; I have a one true love, too."
- ― to Cricket (The Hive Queen, page 21)
- "A few hundred awesome fiery things. […] Starting with the most obvious: he's going to burn down all the Hives for us."
- ― about burning down the Hives (The Hive Queen, page 29)
- "What do you say? Care to destroy the HiveWings together?"
- ― to Cinnabar (The Hive Queen, page 149)
- "No, everything you've heard about the jungle is true. Queen Wasp sent a few expeditions to the Poison Jungle looking for resources and trying to make sure no dragons were hiding from her there. Almost all of them died; the rest are the ones who brought the stories back to you. One of the expeditions was sent to burn down the jungle, because Wasp wanted no more trees anywhere. None of those dragons survived. We helped the jungle make sure of that."
- ― to Swordtail (The Poison Jungle, page 4-5)
- "If we set it free, the Poison Jungle could devour the continent for us, and all the HiveWings, too. If I set it free. I could unleash the jungle and send it forth to strangle our enemies. I won't, though. I don't want a Pantala covered in poisonous, dragon-eating plants. I want the Pantala of the old stories; the giant forests that stretched from shore to shore."
- ― thoughts on setting the plants of the jungle free (The Poison Jungle, page 6)
- "Don't be a drama queen. […] They can help us."
- ― to Nettle (The Poison Jungle, page 17)
- "I could have left. Belladonna doesn't even know I could have left them. But I didn't, because I have a purpose, and that purpose is vengeance. I hatched for one reason: to destroy our enemies. That's why I will always come back. Not for Belladonna or Hemlock. I come back so that one day I can be the one who wipes out the HiveWings forever."
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 28)
- "But of course we can't talk about that. We can't take a moment to say, hey, things are a little better, aren't they? We can only talk about the HiveWings and our fury and all the things we're going to do to them. No time to pat you on the head or say "Thank you, Sundew.""
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 50)
- "What?! […] No one has ever offered to murder a frog for me before!"
- ― to Willow about murdering a frog (The Poison Jungle, page 83)
- "Even after everything I just told her, even if she thinks I've endangered her tribe and restarted a war she doesn't want … she still loves me."
- ― thoughts about Willow (The Poison Jungle, page 99)
- "Or just pause for a moment to be happy. That's what Willow would say to do. After all the craziness with SilkWings and sneaking through Hives and dealing with strangers, I'm back with her at last, where I can just be myself."
- ― thoughts about Willow (The Poison Jungle, page 115)
- "I'm not letting go now. I'm not ever letting go of her again. If this is it, all our truth spilled over the table, then this is my truth: I choose Willow. Even if she is a SapWing, and not Mandrake."
- ― thoughts about choosing Willow over Mandrake (The Poison Jungle, page 150)
- "Wow. I was hoping we'd lose her, but I didn't think it would happen quite that fast. I'm kidding! I'm sure she's fine. She can handle anything, remember?"
- ― to Mandrake about Nettle getting trapped in a plant (The Poison Jungle, page 161)
- "I wasn't planning on doing splamflamp. […] Whatever that is."
- ― to Bumblebee (The Poison Jungle, page 174)
- "We were trying to turn the HiveWing queen into our mind-controlled zombie. We would have done that to her — the same terrible thing she's done to her subjects. Instead we made her stronger than any other dragon. We gave her a way to keep her claws on her tribe's necks, and the power to use them against us. I thought we were the good tribe. How could we do something like this?"
- ― thoughts about Wasp and the breath of evil (The Poison Jungle, page 213)
- "But Hawthorn and Sequoia did terrible things, too. The HiveWings would be right to want them to be punished … but they would be wrong to want the same for the whole LeafWing tribe. So maybe … Maybe I need to think about that, too. Hawthorn, Sequoia, and Wasp. I should be angry at them — I can be furious at them. I can fight Wasp without hating the entire HiveWing tribe. I can free the HiveWings and spare their lives without betraying my quest. Because Wasp is the real enemy: Wasp and her mind control."
- ― thoughts (The Poison Jungle, page 247)
- When Sundew is reunited with Willow, the former uses her leafspeak to make violets grow in between them. Violets and their coloration have been used as a special code by lesbian and bisexual women throughout history.
- Sundew is in charge of hunting for every PoisonWing tribe feast.