Drosera multifida

Range: eastern Australia, from Sydney north to Fraser Island

 

One of several species (some consider them still to be subspecies or varieties) in the D. binata complex, this taxon is known from the eastern coastal region of New South Wales and Queensland (similar plants also reported from western Tasmania, though may represent aberrant pure D. binata) in wetlands, seepage zones on mountain and cliff faces, in sandy or peaty soils. Plants may grow to more than 3 feet across, with leaves up to 45 cm or more in length (and similar width) bearing up to 30 cm thin, un-tapered petioles and narrow branching lamina that when mature typically bear between 10 and 30 branches; a form known as D. multifida var. extrema can in proper conditions develop more than 60 branches per leaf. Coloration is rich green (rarely if ever yellow-tinted when healthy) to red flushed with crimson tentacles. Inflorescences can reach up to 60 cm or more high, may branch one to several times, and support more than 40 blooms. Flowers average around 1-1.5 cm in diameter, with semi-obovate to triangular, slightly rounded to flat-edged red or lightly pink-tinted petals. This plant can be distinguished from its relatives by size and average higher number of branches in the lamina, and lack of golden-green or orange-tinted tentacles and lamina (in case of D. dichotoma).

 

Cultivation: grow in a 1:1 peat/sand or similar mix in a deep pot (preferably more than 8”), kept moist to moderately wet with temperatures of 65-90°F year round; if exposed to colder conditions they may die back to hibernacula or roots though typically continue to attempt to grow if temperatures do not remain very low (near freezing), otherwise they are evergreen. Sow seeds on soil surface, and grow in strong artificial light to full sun.

 

Lifespan and reproduction: perennial. Reproduces through seed (must be cross-pollinated) and natural sprouting from roots or division, but can be propagated by leaf or root cuttings.

 

Sources: Carnivorous Plants of Australia Magnum Opus Vol. 1 (Allen Lowrie).

D. multifida var. extrema flowers

D. multifida leaf showing average branching habit.

Even if not demonstrating extreme branching, D. multifida var. extrema can often be recognized by its redder color and widely spaced branches in less divided leaves.