Drosera spathulata

The drosera is one of the commonest species. It is native to the same regions as the preceding one but its range also extends into tropical south-east Asia. The reddish leaves, arranged in a dense rosette, are covered with red trichomes; the flowers are white. This plant, the same as many other species of the genus, generally lasts only two seasons (if overwintered in the proper, cool conditions) and so all are preferably grown anew from seed each year.

More frequently encountered in collections is D. capensis, which makes a large rosette often more than 20 cm (8 in) in diameter and in summer produces purple flowers. Grown just as widely is the species D. pygmaea, whose name indicates that it is a miniature. It greatly resembles the common European species D. rotundifolia, but is barely half as large. Lovely flowers are produced by D. cistiflora, from Cape Province, which has an upright stem covered with leaves about 3 cm (l-1/8 in) long and less than 0.5 cm (1/3 in) wide pointing up and outward from the stem. The flowers, borne at the tip of the stem, are up to 4 cm (1-½ in) wide and range in colour from deep pink to bright purple.

All droseras are readily propagated by sowing fresh seeds. Best for this purpose is a flat dish filled with peat covered with a thin layer of sand, or peat mixed with sand. The seeds are merely pressed in, for they only germinate in light. The dish should be put in a larger container with water and covered with glass to ensure constant high atmospheric moisture. The seeds germinate in about three weeks, and after two months the seedlings should be pricked out into their permanent place — a dish, demijohn, aquaterrarium or paludarium. The compost should be the same as the sowing medium. In winter, reducing the temperature at least slightly is an absolute must, but at the same time the plants must always be provided with ample light. Feeding poses no problem; at the most the plants may be transferred in spring into a fresh peaty mixture.

Very similar to drosera is the genus Drosophyllum consisting only of the single species D. lusitanicum which grows in the area from south-eastern Spain through Portugal to northern Morocco. Unlike droseras it needs dry conditions and a sandy soil with compost, but the need for direct sunlight is the same.

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

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