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Drosera - S. African - Sundews

GENUS: Drosera

A genus of over 100 species of sticky-leaved perrenials (and a few annuals,) distributed around the world in all climatic zones from the Arctic to sub-saharan Africa. Many are easily grown, and make excellent house plants if planted in peat:sand mix and stood in a saucer of rainwater on a sunny windowsill.

South African species

Mostly rosette-forming species, though D.capensis, regia and sp. 'Magaliesburg' produce clumps of more erect leaves.

Cultivation: 2:1 peat:sand, full sun, 1" water tray all year except where otherwise noted. Keep frost-free. All produce copious seed from self-pollinationg flowers, and can also be propagated from leaf or root cuttings.

SPECIES: D. admirabilis - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

A South African species forming small, neat rosettes of fleshy, green, cuneate leaves covered in scarlet tentacles.

SPECIES: D. affinis - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

A small, semi-erect species with arching, paddle-shaped leaves, rather like a miniature D.anglica. Sadly very rare in cultivation.

SPECIES: D. alba - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

S.African sp. similar to D.cistiflora, but even trickier in cultivation. Hard to germinate - perhaps Gibberelic Acid would help? Requires a completely dry summer dormancy when the plant dies back to its roots. White flowers in the Spring.

SPECIES: D. aliciae - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

2-3 inch rosettes of wedge-shaped leaves that redden with age, producing delicate salmon-pink flowers borne on long scapes in the Summer and Autumn. Seeds down mercilessly, so you might want to remove the seedheads before they ripen (do you really want 100,000 Drosera seedlings coming up in every pot in your greenhouse?) Particularly recommended for beginners.

SPECIES: D. burkeana - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Small rosettes of red leaves with pale pink flowers.

SPECIES: D. capensis - Common Name: Cape Sundew - Distribution: S. Africa

Produces long (up to 6",) arching leaves from a central trunk that becomes woody with age, forming an attractive shrublet after several years. The leaf blades are green, but covered in scarlet, sticky tentacles. Self-seeds in the manner of D.aliciae. All forms of D.capensis are particularly recommended for new growers.

SPECIES: D. capensis - FORM: alba - Common Name: Cape Sundew, pale form - Distribution: S. Africa

A virtually anthocyanin-free form, only slightly pinking in strong sun, with white flowers.

SPECIES: D. capensis - FORM: narrow-leaf - Common Name: Cape Sundew, narrow-leaf form - Distribution: S. Africa

A more slender and graceful form than the regular ('wide'leaf') form, with less woody growth on older plants, and the whole plant rarely exceeding 4 inches in height or width.

SPECIES: D. capensis - FORM: red-leaf - Common Name: Cape Sundew, red-leaf form - Distribution: S. Africa

In this form, the leaf blades as well as the tentacles turn bright crimson in strong sun.

SPECIES: D. cistiflora - Common Name: Cistus-flowered Sundew - Distribution: S. Africa

Very striking S.African sp. with long, fine leaves and erect habit, growing to 10" or so before producing several large, typically pink flowers. A giant form (to 20",) and different flower colour forms (yellow, red, white,) are known.

Cultivation: use a 3:1 sand:peat mix, tray watering, full sun. Requires an almost completely dry summer dormancy when the plant dies back to its roots. Germination is not usually a problem, though can be rather slow. A little tricky in the dry season, so not well-suited to nervous beginners to the art of Drosera dormancy.

SPECIES: D. coccicaulis - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Forms quite substantial rosettes in time - cuneate to spathulate leaves, scarlet tentacles, pink flowers. Very easy.

SPECIES: D. collinsiae - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Small, yellow-red rosettes, similar to D.trinervia, but more spathulate than cuneate

SPECIES: D. curvispata - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa?

Rosette-forming species with cuneate leaves borne on semi-erect petioles.

SPECIES: D. dielsiana - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Similar sp. to D.aliciae, but leaves more spathulate than cuneate. Very easy to grow and germinate.

SPECIES: D. glabripes - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Rosette-forming species - similar to, but a little trickier than D.dielsiana.

SPECIES: D. natalensis - Common Name: Natal Sundew - Distribution: S. Africa

Another of the South African rosette-forming species, from Natal province. This one prefers slightly drier conditions than most, so it's advisable to let the water tray dry out before refilling.

SPECIES: D. nidiformis - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Previously known as Drosera sp.'Magaliesburg'. Occurs on, though not endemic to, Table Mountain, S.Africa. This sp. resembles D.intermedia, with long petioles and paddle-shaped leaves. A very graceful little plant, and very easy in cultivation.

SPECIES: D. pauciflora - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Similar sp. to D.cistiflora, though not as erect and generally smaller in all its parts, requiring similar cultivation. A little trickier to get through dormancy and harder to germinate. Smaller flowers less frequently produced. Like D.cistiflora, flower colour is variable, with pink, white, yellow and red forms in cultivation.

SPECIES: D. regia - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Truly a king among sundews - these plants reach prodigious sizes (2 feet+) with tall reed-like (but sticky!) leaves, if left undisturbed in a suitably warm spot. Not tolerant of disturbance or excessively cold and damp conditions (cold on its own isn't a major problem, though it's advisable to keep them frost-free,) but otherwise not as daunting as its reputation might suggest.

SPECIES: D. sp. 'jacobii' - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

A striking semi-erect sp. with cuneate leaves and tall scapes bearing small, pink flowers, that still awaits formal description and naming. Easy to germinate and grow.

SPECIES: D. sp. 'magaliesburg' - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

An increasingly well-known and oft-grown plant that still awaits formal description and naming. Small but attractive arching, paddle-shaped leaves and pink flowers.

UPDATE - And so it was until formally published as Drosera nidiformis, which is to be regarded as the correct name (so you'd better get the marker pen pen out and relabel your plants!)

SPECIES: D. trinervia - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Tiny rosettes make this almost South Africa's answer to the Australian pygmy Drosera. Very pretty, and quite variable with pink and white-flowering forms with green, yellow and red leaves being known.

SPECIES: D. venusta - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Supposedly a synonym for D.natalensis, but this form is larger, more erect and likes wetter conditions than the type. A very distinctive plant to grace any collection.

SPECIES: D. zeheri - Common Name: None - Distribution: S. Africa

Widely held to be a subspecies of D.cistiflora, this form is red-flowering and shorter than most D.cistiflora forms.

Cultivation: exactly as for D.cistiflora.

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