D. arenicola from Akopan Tepui
Range: tepuis of northern South America
A South American rosetted plant of the tepui highlands of Venezuela and Brazil, in particular the Chimanta massif system, this species can be found growing in patches of sandy soil wherever there is permanent moisture. Plants reach up to 4 cm across, with moderately long stems forming from old leaves of the semi-erect rosettes. Leaves are narrow and strap-shaped, with a marked parallel and broad petiole and lamina that are elongate ovoid to elliptical. Color ranges from bright green with red-flushed lamina and scarlet tentacles to bright crimson throughout. Short stalks covered in glands and reddish hairs rise barely above the rosettes and produce small, 0.5-1 cm blooms composed of truncate white flowers.
This species was once described as having two forms, var. albiflora and var. occidentalis. The former was delineated by restricted range in the western portion of the species distribution, and erroneously named after the white blooms typical of the species as a whole. The latter was identified as being confined to the western end of the range and growing larger, with a greater number of flowers, but plants representing both “varieties” have been found throughout the range and are likely just phenotypic variation.
Cultivation: Grow in a 2:1 sand/peat soil, kept moist to even waterlogged and moderately humid, with temperatures of 65-80°F day, 50-60°F night, year round. Sow seeds on soil surface, and grow in strong artificial light to full sun.
Lifespan and reproduction: perennial. Reproduces by seed and natural division or stem offshoots, and may also be propagated by root or leaf cuttings.