Drosera binata: Sundew

Dionaea, is not the only insectivorous plant that can be grown at home. Best known, and just as attractive, is the genus Drosera, which includes some 85 species, three of them being native to Europe’s peat bogs. Their distribution, however, is chiefly centered in Australia and New Zealand, home to more than 50 species.

This plant is from southeastern Australia and New Zealand where it grows in peat bogs and permanently damp meadows together with mosses, from sea level to elevations of 600 m (1,920 ft). The leaves are thickly covered with glandular trichomes, which secrete drops of viscous fluid. This serves to attract small insects and hold them fast; it also contains proteolytic enzymes and thus the plant obtains necessary nitrogen that cannot be supplied by its environment. There is little information about whether the glittering drops of sticky fluid are just a kind of ‘dew’ serving as an optical attraction, or whether they also emit a scent which is imperceptible to humans but attractive to insects.

Drosera binata, often found in collections under the synonym D. dichotoma, is a relatively large plant, reaching a height of more than 40 cm (16 in), given perfect conditions. The main root soon perishes and is replaced by numerous strong adventitious roots. In summer it produces moderately large white flowers, about 30 in the case of robust specimens. Do not be taken aback when the leaves start to wilt in autumn for the plant begins dying down at this time prior to overwintering, when the temperature should be reduced and water limited. Species that have long and thick adventitious roots — of those found in cultivation this includes Drosera capensis — are propagated in early spring by means of 2- to 3-cm- (¾ to 1-in-) long root cuttings laid on wet peat and covered with a light sprinkling of sand.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Drosera binata: Sundew

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