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Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Sticky Situation

I've always been an avid collector of carnivorous plants, since I've been fascinated with them since I was a child. While the spectacular Nepenthes have always been a focus of mine, sundews of the genus Drosera are also one of my favourite plants.

One of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, sundew species can be found worldwide, with sometimes pretty jarring differences between species, as they are extremely variable in terms of shape, size, colour and growth habit. The glistening dewdrops that give them their common name sparkles in the sun, attracting unsuspecting insects with sweet secretions and leading them to a very nasty surprise. As the prey struggles to escape, it gets stuck in more sticky mucilage, and finally dies from either exhaustion or asphyxiation. The plant then digests it and absorbs the nutrients for growth.


Drosera intermedia, a very easy and fast-growing sundew. It tends to produce plenty of seeds and offshoots that it may end up being a weed in collections. Recommended for beginners.


Drosera spathulata 'Pok Fu Lam', also a very hardy and vigorous sundew. Like Drosera intermedia, it is also recommended for beginners due to ease of cultivation.


Drosera capillaris 'Long Leaf', yet another vigorous grower that is easy to cultivate.


Drosera tokaiensis, also a good plant for beginners due to its hardy nature and fast growth. It tends to become a weed in collections too.


Drosera filiformis var. tracyi, a green and tall form of Drosera filiformis. It produces tall, upright leaves and are good at trapping flying insects. The new leaves unfurl like fronds of a fern from the base of the plant.


Drosera burmanii, an annual tropical sundew that is easy to grow. It is one of the fastest sundews, with tentacles that can curl around a prey in a few seconds. In cultivation, with enough nutrients, it may behave like a perennial instead.


Drosera adelae, a sundew endemic to Queensland, Australia. While it is easy to grow in the tropics, it is quite susceptible to mealybug attacks.


This isn't a sundew, but rather a rainbow plant (Byblis liniflora), though it certainly does resemble them. It is an annual plant, thus producing tons of seeds before they die. The seeds are difficult to germinate as germination is triggered by bushfires in it's natural habitat. However, diluted bleach can be use to dissolve the seedcoat instead to stimulate germination.

By the way, I've been busy with driving lessons for the past few weeks, and now I've finally received my driving license. No need to pester my parents if I want to go anywhere anymore, haha.


7 comments:

  1. Those unsuspecting insects have my sympathy. Can't you train your carnivorous plants to go vegetarian, just like Asplenium nidus (Bird's nest fern) :)

    Glad you can be more mobile from now on but do be careful. New drivers have a tendency to be rash and drive too fast!

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  2. Haha there is a vegetarian nepenthes, Nepenthes ampullaria that digests vegetative material (i.e. fallen leaves). The other carnivores prefer meat though.

    Yah, I'll be careful while driving. Thanks.

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  3. I'm amazed when you mentioned that some of the sundew plants are for beginners.
    They look all so fragile and sensitive and you mentioned that they can become weedy? Wow!!
    I would love them to become weedy in my garden.. hahahaaaa...

    I notice that all the sundew plants are small like 10sen coin in diameter? Are they still a plantlet or matured plants?
    Anyway - I shocked to know that sundew plant can be attacked by mealy bug when the plant is carnivorous? Wow!!

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  4. I can send you some seeds if you like, since my Drosera burmanii and Drosera spathulata is flowering now. They do look fragile, and some species are really sensitive, but most of them are hardier than they appear.

    Many sundews are indeed tiny plants, but there are big species too. The upright ones like Drosera filiformis and Drosera binata can grow quite tall, though they'll still remain slender. Some of these are still young plantlets, but the rosette sundews won't grow very big even when matured.

    Sundews can be attacked by root mealybugs since the roots aren't carnivorous. The leafs tend to be problem-free. This makes it harder to spot an infestation until it's too late. A symptom of root mealybugs is the gradual shrinkage of the plant.

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  5. Hi! I saw ur comment saying that u had seeds to give away for 2 of ur Droseras? Could I get in some of that as well? Haha. Im also a gardener in singapore.

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  6. Oh wow! How amazing! You have so many different types of drosera. Nice collection. And it is wonderful to see them thriving so well. Congrats on obtaining the driving license!

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  7. Sorry, they are all taken already.

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