30 March 2012

The shield sundew

Encouraged by a Facebook post from California Carnivores and on a whim I decided to get my first tuberous sundew a few months ago. These are plants with a decidedly curious habit unfamiliar to those of us where winter normally equals dormancy. During the winter, more accurately described as the wet season, the plant will spring up out of the soil and produce first a flat rosette of leaves and then begin to bolt, sometimes attaining a height of 50 cm. Once the high heat normally associated with the Australian dry season arrives, the plant withers and retreats to a tuber some 4 to 6 cm underground. I suppose this unfamiliar habit is the reason why tuberous sundews get the reputation of being quite difficult to maintain - they must be kept wet but not soaked in the winter and nearly bone dry in the summer. Luckily, California Carnivores occasionally stocks Drosera peltata, the shield sundew, so named for the shield-shaped leaves, reportedly one of the easiest tuberous sundews to grow. A beginner's plant, if you will.

So far, I'm thrilled with it! I just hope that I'm able to keep the tuber viable through the summer.

As a bonus, I also received the above dainty flowering plant, Utricularia bisquamata. Known as a prolific weed of the carnivorous plant world, I'm not sure if I should torch it or try to contain it. If I don't do something, it is nearly guaranteed that it will end up taking over every single pot in my collection.

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