Drosera stenopetala is one of New Zealand's two species of alpine sundew and our only endemic representative of this genus. Like Drosera arcturi this species too is a summer grower and reverts to a hibernaculum to survive the cold winters. During spring the first 2 or 3 short spathulate leaves emerge and usually lie flat on the ground. After this another 2 or 3 leaves emerge during summer but these are held erect and may reach up to 7cm in height. At this time a solitary white flower, 12mm across, is also borne, positioned at about twice the height of the leaves. After flowering the leaves gradually reduce in size to eventually form the hibernaculum. The hibernaculum normally sits on the surface of the soil or moss and is usually covered with snow for several months during winter.
Alpine bogs, tarns and seepages where there is usually a constant percolation of water through the soil.
Found in alpine areas that experience a very high rainfall from the southern North Island southwards through the South and Stewart Islands to our subantarctic islands. Found above 900m altitude in the north descending to sea level in the south.