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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.