Wildflowers, photos ... Sundews (Drosera)

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 12:27
ThreadID: 84461 Views:10199 Replies:7 FollowUps:15
This Thread has been Archived
Sundews belong to the Drosera genus which is a member of a larger group commonly referred to as carnivorous plants. They are not the thing of nightmares but are delicate insectivorous plants found on every continent except Antarctica.

Although the south west of Western Australia is a hot spot for sundews many are also found in Australia’s tropical zones. Of the 130 known species, 100 are Australian.

‘Drosera’ means ‘dewey’ in Greek and are so named because of the way they sparkle in the morning dew and in the slanting rays of the afternoon sun.

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

The characteristic that all sundews have in common is that the glandular hairs on their leaves produce a sticky secretion trapping unwary insects. The hairs bend over the prey and enzymes break down the soft parts of the insects’ bodies which are then absorbed by the plant to supplement the poor nutrition in the soils in which these plants grow. The digestion process can take up to three days. The sticky hairs also help the climbing species to cling to other shrubs.

Image Could Not Be Found

Sundews are herbaceous, represented by tiny rosettes as small as 2cm in diameter, often red, which grow flat on the ground or in rock crevasses, or plants to 30cm tall or straggly climbing plants 1-2 metres long. The sizes mentioned are from my observations.

Image Could Not Be Found

Most sundews produce very delicate daisy-like flowers, with five petals, flowering in spring but only lasting for a few days. They can be white, pink, blue, or even a beautiful apricot colour. I guess if your flowers only last a short time you have to put on a good show to catch the pollinators. Like many plants they can be variable which sometimes makes it tricky to identify them.

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

There are two surprising facts about the SW of WA sundews. Firstly, they often grow in areas that in the summertime are very dry and harsh but in the wintertime the soil in those areas can be quite moist, for instance, at the base of rocky outcrops where water collects after even light rainfall. Secondly, unlike their cousins elsewhere they mostly die down to a tuber in autumn. Even more surprising is that the dead layers around the tubers can be counted to reveal the age of the plant and some have been shown to be at least sixty years old. Those delicate looks can be deceiving!

Other means of reproduction are by seed or by cloning which often produces carpets of sundews.

Early settlers made dye for ink from some species and laboratory testing has shown that the enzymes in the plant could be useful for medicinal purposes. However, the greatest use of sundews seems to be in cultivation as curiosities.

As you can see from some of the photos these little gems can be hard to see in the wild if they are not in flower. Keeping your eyes peeled in the bush can be very rewarding.

Image Could Not Be Found

Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 13:18

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 13:18
Hi Min

Thanks for that great information on the Sundew. It was very interesting reading and I will have to keep a close eye out for them. Sorry that I do not have any photos to add to your great collection.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 445965

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 13:53

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 13:53
Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your comments. Having prepared a couple of these threads now I could never travel with the same eyes again. In future I will take in more of what's around me and certainly take more photos of plants - and try to identify them. Identifying plants is where you really learn about them and help others to learn.

Take your reference books and spare camera batteries to KI.

Min,
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718288

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 16:53

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 16:53
Hi Min,

Thanks for more lovely photos and an interesting post, the more so because sundews are mostly so small and easily overlooked. They are, as you say, fascinating plants with their ability to trap small insects to supplement their nutrient supply. And they are rather attractive especially when the early morning light catches the dew and mucous on their leaves.

Growing up on a farm on the NSW north coast the bright pink/red Droseras were common in damp areas. Sometimes as a child I would try to grow one inside to catch flies - without much luck I might add. But its interesting, though not surprising that now there are many people who specialise in growing carnivorous plants including Droseras.

Here on the northern edge of the ACT we have a whole hillside that each spring is covered with little green Droseras with white flowers. They die back each summer. Like many things that are right under ones nose, I dont have a photo of them - will rectify that next spring!

However in our travels we have seen many Droseras, so I have a few photos for you. When I looked at identifying them though it looked too daunting.

One quite unexpected place where we have found spectacular Droseras was on the Hay River just south of Lake Caroline, where in July there were quite large patches of big Droseras growing around a rapidly drying waterhole. My quick scan of Drosera pages on the web, suggests that there are not many records of Drosera in desert environments.

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found


We have also seen them in the Kimberley and in many parts of WA, where we found a number of different ones.

Image Could Not Be Found


The following are all from SW Western Australia

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found





Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 445977

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 21:26

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 21:26
Hi Val

Fantastic photos there, I am going to have to keep a closer eye out now.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718310

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 22:53

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 22:53
Hi Val,

What a fabulous collection of Drosera pics. The variety of colour and form is amazing and it's clear from your photos that there is also considerable variety of habitat. Thanks for adding them and your comments.

I was just lucky in being able to identify mine. I had seen one named and recognised it and the WA books just happened to have a couple that I was sure of. The rosettes are difficult.

Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718315

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 00:07

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 00:07
Hi Val,

Viewing your great photos we realised that we had a photo of a drosera (now named) that we took in the Davenport Ranges (July 2010), very similar to the Hay River drosera photo.
regards,
Mike.


Image Could Not Be Found
We retired to travell
It's time to go again...

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718322

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 00:12

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 00:12
Sorry the photo didn't go through, never mind.
Mike
We retired to travell
It's time to go again...

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718323

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 08:39

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 08:39
Hi Mike,

Could be worth trying again. Yesterday I had heaps of trouble putting photos up. At one stage the site would not let me post - thought that I was not a member. At another point when I did a preview the photos that came up were from a previous blog Grrrr! I think David still has some gremlins in the system.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718326

Follow Up By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 16:06

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 16:06
Image Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be FoundHi Val
What fantastic pics you have! Am attaching one of our pics of drosera from our joint time along the Hay River and also one of the location. What an experience it was!
Cheers
Megan
0
FollowupID: 719016

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 17:22

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 17:22
Hi Megan,

Droseras are quite amazing little plants. Until we went to WA I had no idea there was such variety in them. Still those Hay River ones are hard to beat. I think the species is D. indica. And yes what an experience that trip was - talk about highs and lows. I'm contemplating writing it up sometime, after giving it a fair bit of thought!

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 719023

Reply By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 17:51

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 17:51
Min,

Thanks for the interesting read.

I am the same as Stephen L, I don't have any photos of this species, I can see I will need to keep my eyes wide open next time I venture into the great outdoors.

Going by Vals photos I am sure I have seen them, but just never got around to photographing them.

Regards

Barry H
AnswerID: 445983

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:36

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:36
Hi Barry,

Some of the sundews are very tiny and easily overlooked and others may not look interesting without flowers but it's when you get up close and personal that they grab your attention. The time of day is also important - they really do sparkle in the morning and afternoon sun.

Cheers,
Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 719078

Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 20:53

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011 at 20:53
Great stuff Min. Thank you.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 445994

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:38

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:38
Hi John,

Glad you enjoyed it. I'm still learning to put these posts together.

Cheers,
Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 719079

Reply By: get outmore - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 06:53

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 06:53
Heres my effor from the top of Mt Cooke just off the albany highway

AnswerID: 446006

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 08:35

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 08:35
Thats a lovely photo. The climbing Droseras are intriguing things. How did you post a full size photo like that?

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718325

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:09

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:09
I'll second that. You took that photo from the perfect angle. Incredible colour.

Thanks for adding it.

Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 718353

Follow Up By: get outmore - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 21:37

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 21:37
dunno I just posted it from photobucket you click on direct link in PB and paste it into the feild you get when you click on insert image for the thread
0
FollowupID: 718399

Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 09:25

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 09:25
Thanks for the great post and beautiful photos.

Just shows you what you miss if you don't get out and smell the 'droseras'.

Dave
'Wouldn't be dead for quids'

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 446019

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:29

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 23:29
Hi Dave,

I wonder how many there would be out your way? You never know. Keep your eyes peeled!

Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 719076

Reply By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 17:50

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 at 17:50
Hi Val,

Thanks for more stunning photos and interesting information on these unusual and very beautiful plants.

I have a photo to add which was taken in Glbraltar Ranges National Park in Northern NSW a few years ago. It was the first time we had encountered them and we were fascinated, especially when we viewed the photos magnified and realised just how intricately patterned they were.

Image Could Not Be Found


Regards,

Heather G
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 446644

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Feb 27, 2011 at 09:15

Sunday, Feb 27, 2011 at 09:15
Hi Heather,

Your photo reminds of the little red Droseras that I was familiar with as a child around Coffs Harbour. I have seen them on the South Coast too, in swampy places.

The credit for this thread rightly belongs to Min, but its good to see that there is quite a bit of interest in our wonderful plants.

Trust you are enjoying your trip still.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 719093

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)