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Drosera linearis

Range: Northern North America, Montana and British Columbia east across Canadian territories and Great Lakes region


Sometimes referred to by common names of Slenderleaf or Linear-leaved Sundew, this species is an unusual North American endemic, found almost exclusively in alkaline marl fens in a disjunct range, recorded with certainty in Alberta and Montana and through the Great Lakes states north and east into Newfoundland, though has been reported through many other Canadian territories as well (though these reports may potentially be misidentifications of D. anglica). Plants may reach nearly 12 cm in height, mature plants growing as an almost entirely erect rosette of very slender leaves. Petioles are thin and slightly flattened, usually comprising half or less of the total leaf length, and the lamina are also relatively narrow with perfectly parallel sides along most of their length, narrowing to a very slightly pointed tip. Coloration may be nearly pure green with pinkish tentacles to almost solidly red throughout, though usually green with rich red tentacles and sometimes red-flushed petioles. Inflorescences reach up to 12 cm tall, completely glabrous, with between 3-12 blooms. The flowers may reach almost 1 cm in diameter, with pure white, ovate to slightly obovate petals. This species is adapted to very cold, harsh winters, often remaining dormant for 9 months of the year and detaching from its old roots to be distributed about the fens in this time. It is readily distinguished from its relatives by the extremely thin, parallel leaves which no other North American species possesses, longer petioles and shorter lamina than D. x hybrida, and even backcrosses with its descendant species D. anglica will form broader, more blunt-ended leaves. Other species when growing in similar areas will usually grow on sphagnum or vegetative “islands” within the fen rather than in the alkaline silt itself as this species does.


Cultivation: grow in a sand-heavy mix, 2:1 or greater of sand/peat, kept moist to even occasionally waterlogged, and cool during the growing season with temperatures preferably of 55-75°F. Feed regularly to encourage rapid growth and flowering/division as well as healthy hibernacula. Due to the short growing season of this species in the wild, plants that awake in spring may go dormant in the middle of summer, and it is best to take the hibernacula and place them in refrigeration for at least 3-4 months before bringing back out to grow. Two growth seasons a year may be accomplished in this manner by maintaining dormancy for 3 months, growth for roughly 3 months, and dormancy again. Sow seeds on soil surface and apply a 6-8 week cold stratification period, and grow under strong artificial light to full sun (latter is difficult outside of naturally cool temperate regions).


Lifespan and reproduction: Perennial. Reproduces through seed (may take several growing cycles to reach adulthood) and division, and may be grown through leaf cuttings.

Lowrie et al. (2017) Drosera of the World Vol. 2. Redfern Natural History Productions.

D. linearis flower.jpg

Simple white flower of D. linearis.

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