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Drosera arcturi

D. arcturi.jpg

Range: alpine mountains in SE Australia and Tasmania, as well as parts of New Zealand.


This unusual, phylogenetically ancestral sundew is a high alpine inhabitant of the mountain ranges and cold marshes of the Austral region. Specifically, it grows in Tasmania, southeastern Australia, and in New Zealand, it lives from the East Cape of North Island, down to Stuart Island, from elevations of over 1500 meters in lower latitudes down to sea level in the south of Tasmania and New Zealand. Preferred habitats are acidic bogs and seepages often within mats of sphagnum or low clumping plants. Each individual can develop typically 1-4 semi-erect leaves to 5-6 cm in length, held erect to semi-erect; leaves are nearly succulent and bear a broad, parallel and usually glabrous petiole comprising up to a third or even half the leaf length and often folded down the middle, supporting an oblong to nearly strap-shaped, round-tipped lamina. Depending on age, locality, and lighting coloration ranges from bright green with crimson tentacles heads to flushed orange or nearly solid red. Occasionally the plants may also produce one or two non-carnivorous leaves that are similar in shape to the normal leaves but lack glands. In summer a short, thick inflorescence only around 5-8 cm in length is produced, glabrous, and bearing a single flower up to 3 cm across. Petals are ovular with narrow tips, and bright white. In winter this species often experiences extreme subzero temperatures, and develops an oddly shaped elongated hibernaculum to withstand this under the accumulated snow usually present. This species is typically confused with D. murfetii which was once considered to be a large lowland form, but differs in its size, fewer non-carnivorous leaves produced, and affinity for more alpine, colder locations as well as much smaller, single-flowered inflorescence.


Cultivation: an extremely difficult plant to grow well in most locations. Plants appreciate a moist to sopping wet soil mix of aerated peat or live sphagnum (recipes vary with success by person), kept in temperatures no higher than 75°F in summer and preferably far cooler (within the 50’s-60’s during the day). Heavy feeding but with care not to let leaves rot is often recommended to give them strength to develop proper hibernacula. In winter, plants should be kept damp, and placed in a very cold (though preferably not harsh freezing) location for 4-6 months at least. Seeds require a 3-4 month very cold stratification (light frost may benefit), and should be sown on the soil surface. Grow in strong artificial light to full sun; low latitude regions may do best with artificial lighting or diffused sunlight rather than direct.


Lifespan and reproduction: long-lived perennial, often not maturing for several years after germination. Reproduces through seed, and can be grown through leaf pullings.



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