Drosera binata

D. binata from Coromandel, New Zealand

Range: southwestern and southeastern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand

 

Commonly known as the fork-leaved sundew, this species is one of likely several to be parsed out of a confusing complex of plants that is currently variably considered to be either already separate species or lumped together as various varieties and forms of this taxon. This file will currently consider the nominate D. binata as a separate taxon from the larger multi-forked forms found in more subtropical and Australian temperate regions and Tasmania, until further work is done on the group (subgenus Phycopsis).

The nominate fork-leaved sundew can be found in wet seepages, marshes, and even on dripping cliffsides across the coast and mountains of southeastern Australia as well as an isolated southwestern coastal population, throughout Tasmania, and most of New Zealand from sea level to 1,000 meters in elevation. Plants may reach up to 35 cm in height, with erect to scrambling leaves that are comprised of a long, glabrous petiole and a bifurcated, occasionally multiple-branched lamina up to 20 cm across, sometimes more; each branch begins parallel and tapers to a fine tip. Coloration ranges from almost entirely pure green (though typically with notably red tentacles) to solid crimson, particularly when exposed to cold. Dwarf red forms no more than 5 cm tall are known from Tasmania, potentially New Zealand as well. Inflorescences can be more than 40 cm tall,glabrous and may be singular or more commonly bifurcated to mildly branching, and may support up to 40 blooms (many opening simultaneously). Flowers are typically 1-2 cm in diameter, with broadly ovular to truncate, and typically bright white (rare pink individuals are known). Beyond size (this typically being the smallest form), this taxon is distinguished from its relatives by the number of branches possessed (usually 4 or less compared to more in others) and coloration (rich green or red compared to golden-toned with bronzy tentacles in D. dichotoma) at maturity.

 

Cultivation: not picky generally, though may do best in a sandy or similarly well-aerated peat soil mix, kept moist to wet year round. Some forms are tropical, others temperate; the latter will form hibernacula when exposed to cold weather and enter dormancy, while subtropical or tropical forms will attempt to grow year round; tolerated temperatures correspondingly vary as cool-weather forms will grow better under more mild conditions while others may tolerate very high heat. Similarly, subtropical or tropical seeds require no stratification and will germinate when sown on the soil surface, while some temperate forms do better with a 4-6 week cold stratification. All grow best under very strong artificial light, or preferably full sun.

 

Lifespan and reproduction: long-lived perennial. Reproduces through seed, natural division, as well as clonal root budding, and may be propagated by leaf or root cuttings.

 

Sources:  Carnivorous Plants of Australia Magnum Opus: Allen Lowrie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosera_binata

Flower of D. binata from Coromandel, New Zealand expressing an extra petal.

A form grown under lower indoor lighting showing a paler coloration and more scrambling habit.

D. binata from Waihohonu Desert Road, New Zealand, a shorter, stockier form.

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