The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

The Tuberous Erect & Scrambling Drosera1
Erect species
D. andersoniana
D. auriculata2,3
D. bicolor3
D. bulbigena
D. gigantea var. gigantea
D. gigantea var. geniculata
D. gracilis3
D. graniticola
D. heterophylla
D. hookeri2,3
D. huegelii
D. lunata6
D. marchantii subsp. marchantii
D. marchantii subsp. prophylla
D. menziesii subsp. menziesii
D. menziesii subsp. basifolia
D. microphylla
D. myriantha
D. neesii subsp. neesii
D. neesii subsp. borealis
D. peltata4
D. radicans
D. salina
D. stricticaulis subsp. stricticaulis
D. stricticaulis subsp. eremaea
D. yilgarnensis
D. zigzagia

Scrambling species
D. erythrogyne
D. intricata
D. macrantha5
D. menziesii subsp. penicillaris
D. menziesii subsp. thysanosepala
D. modesta
D. moorei
D. pallida
D. subhirtella
D. sulphurea
1All in Drosera section Ergaleium
2Occurs in southeastern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand.
3Considered by some to be a form of D. peltata, e.g. Schlauer 2002.
4Occurs in eastern Australia (New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania;
  possibly Queensland).
5Various subspecies have been lumped or moved to D. stricticaulis subsp. (Schlauer 1996, 2002)
6Occurs in eastern Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand,
  Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, China (inc. Taiwan), Nepal, Japan; possibly west from Nepal to
  Tajikistan.

Q: The tuberous erect & scrambling Drosera

A: This last group of tuberous species, classified in section Ergaleium, comprise plants which have very elongated and wiry stems. The leaves along the stem are produced singly or in whorls of three.

The "erect" species have a stiff stem that can support the plant's weight, although it might topple in wind. Even these erect species often lean against nearby grasses, twigs, and shrubs. Leaves along the stem are peltate, while those in the basal rosette (if present) are paddle-shaped, and look like those of more familiar species such as D. rotundifolia.

The "scrambling" species (sometimes called "climbing") have extremely long stems that cannot possibly support their weight. They are vinelike in habit. The leaves along the stem are sometimes very dimorphic. Two of the leaves in each whorl are on short petioles, while the third leaf is on a very long petiole. The long-petioled leaves grab onto vegetation and cement themselves in place. This keeps the plant adhered to the supporting structures. (Some erect species share this adaptation.)

The distinction between the erect species and thescrambling species is merely one describing the plant's habit, and does not neatly divide the section. You will note, for example, that in the species D. menziesii, there are both erect and scrambling subspecies.

Species in this section span a great range in size. Tiny D. microphylla lives up to its name ( "micro-leaves"), while D. gigantea is an enormous, 1-meter plant with a treelike outline. Scrambling species are even larger, although more ropelike in structure.

Drosera erythrogyne
This is an excellent representative of the scrambling species. It is a very long-stemmed plant that I have seen climbing high into the branches of trees. This giant's stem can be 3 meters long!

Drosera gigantea
Truly a plant to reset your scale when you think about big sundews. This plant is shaped like a small tree, with a thick stem and long, many-branched arms. The white flowers are scattered about the top of the plant. It is amazing to see. The tubers of this plant can be a meter below ground, but manage to reach the surface every year by using the same vertical access tunnel.

Drosera heterophylla
This species really intrigues me because it produces flowers with several petals. This is unique in the entire genus---all other Drosera normally produce flowers with only four or five petals (the occasional mutant flower aside).

Drosera hookeri
A species that Robert Gibson et al. has pulled out of the Drosera peltata swirling mass of confusing taxa. This species is similar to D. peltata but is multi-branched. It is robust, with stems 1-2 mm in diameter, which help distance the plant from the similar D. bicolor. Sometimes referred to, incorrectly, as D. foliosa.

Drosera huegelii
This is one of my favorite species in the group because of its bizarrely bell-shaped leaves. Each little erect plant may only have a few to a dozen leaves. It seems to put a lot of faith in the prey-catching ability of each of those leaves!

Drosera intricata
This winding plant is named after its convoluted, twining stem.

Drosera lunata
Similar to Drosera auriculata, but with seeds that are ovoid or peanut-shaped, or in any event they are shorter than 1mm long.

Drosera macrantha
A glandular, climbing species. I have seen specimens climbing other plants, dead trees, twigs, and even rock walls.

Drosera marchantii
This graceful, erect sundew looks very much like some of the fan-leaved species. Only upon close inspection can you be sure that the leaves are peltate and not fan-leaved.

Drosera menziesii
A very common plant in southwestern Australia, in fact on my one trip to that part of the country I learned to treat it as a plant to walk past in search of rarer things. (Sounds terribly spoiled, doesn't it?) Overall reddish, even the erect subspecies are at most a weakly erect plant. The subspecies basifolia has densely clustered leaves surrounding the base of the stem.

Drosera microphylla
A small plant with tiny flowers where the petals are dwarfed by the sepals. The plants from the Perth area have red petals, those from Albany have orange petals, and on some of the plants east of Esperance they are white.

Drosera peltata
One of the two most commonly grown tuberous Drosera. This plant is the center of much debate. Some researchers, including ones with enormous field research and whom I respect greatly, have broken the "D. peltata complex" into several species: D. auriculata, D. bicolor, D. gracilis, D. hookeri, D. lunata, D. peltata, and D. yilgarnensis. There are a number of characters separating these plants, but very briefly, they can best be distinguished by the the following characters:

D. auriculata: glabrous sepals, linear seed longer than 1 mm.
D. lunata: glabrous sepals, ovoid seed shorter than 1 mm.
D. hookeri: glabrous or hirsute sepals, style with 15-25 segments, branching habit.
D. peltata: pubescent sepals, style with 15-25 segments, ovate seed, unbranched habit, red basal rosettes.
D. yilgarnensis: pubescent sepals, style with 30-60 segments, SW Australia.
D. bicolor: unbranched habit, bicolored flowers.
D. gracilis: narrow stem (0.5mm), normally leafless on distal half, red foliage.

Drosera stricticaulis
A species with green-glandular stems and cup-shaped leaves. Overall, a very yellow-green plant and fairly recognizable.

Drosera sulphurea
A plant that has been considered synonymous with Drosera neesii, but now is placed as a separate species. One of the yellow-flowered species.

Drosera subtilis, while classified in the genus section Ergaleium (i.e. one of the a Drosera sections) is almost certainly misclassified, so I deal with it elsewhere. Furthermore, I suspect that "Drosera insolita" is a publication error of some sort---its description sounds very much like Drosera peltata, but the plant was described as occurring in Africa.

Drosera yilgarnensis
Formerly considered to be a population of Drosera peltata in Western Australia.

Page citations: Gibson, R.P. et. al. 2010; Gibson et al. 2012; Lowrie, A. 1987, 1989, 1999, 2005; Rice, B.A. 2006a; Schlauer, J. 1996, 2002; Taton, A. 1945.

back forward

bar

Revised: March 2012
©Barry Rice, 2005