Image source: provided by Andrew Broome for use.
Range: Northwestern Australia from Broome to Darwin
A member of the “indica complex” and endemic to the northwestern tip of Australia, this species is found anywhere water collects seasonally or permanently, from savannah depressions to lake shores. Plants may reach nearly 30 cm tall, with long, linear leaves possessing distinct petioles and reaching up to 15 cm in length. Color is primarily green with colorless of pale pink tentacles, but old stems, leaf axils, and flower stalks can flush red. The inflorescences are long and relatively sturdy, bearing blooms on long pedicels. The flowers are large, hot pink to cerise with broad obovate to triangular or even truncate, often fringed petals surrounding equally pink or deep red hooded stamens and stigmas. This species is distinct in the color of all flower parts as well as possessing large T-shaped trichomes on the petiole and odd blunt stipule-like appendages in the leaf axils theorized to give off the powerful odor this species is named for, described as like that of honeydew melon.
Cultivation: Grow in a sandy peat soil, kept moist to wet and moderately humid with hot temperatures year round. Sow seeds on soil surface, and grow in full sun.
Lifespan and reproduction: annual. Reproduces via seeds only; cuttings not reported successful.
Close-up of the cerise flower of D. fragrans
Image source: provided for use courtesy of Andrew Broome