Range: South Africa N to Mozambique and Madagascar
Known as the Natal sundew, this plant is an eastern to South African native, and one of the few Drosera species recorded from Madagascar. It can be found in a range of habitats, from ephemeral seeps and marshes to lake and stream shorelines as well as high mountain bogs. Plants average under 5 cm across though occasionally grow larger, with a highly variable leaf shape with petioles that may be nearly nonexistent and narrow to half the leaf length and broad, ending in an obovate, spatulate, or even nearly rectangular lamina, and the petioles particular abaxially may sport a nearly glabrous appearance to heavily pilose. Color is similarly variable, from bright green with bare hints of red in the tentacles to nearly solid crimson. Inflorescences may be up to 50 cm in length, sparsely glandular, and sport up to 12 or more relatively widely separated flowers on long pedicels. Each bloom is approximately 1.5 cm in diameter and is composed of thin ovular to obovate light to rich pink petals. This species is commonly mislabeled in cultivation as the related but much rarer D. dielsiana¸ from which it can be distinguished only reliably by the shape of the seeds and flower styles; seeds of this species are fusiform while dielsiana are ovoid, and styles often multi-branched compared to bifurcated. From other species it can be distinguished by its flat rosetted nature and small size as well as short but usually distinct petiole and small flowers.
Cultivation: can be grown in a variety of soil mixes though often does best in a sand-heavy peat mix, kept moist to wet (but preferably well aerated) and moderately humid, with temps of 55-85°F, year round; plants may die back to the roots if exposed to frost. Sow seeds on soil surface, and grow in strong artificial light to full sun.
Lifespan and reproduction: perennial. Reproduces through seed, and can be grown through leaf and root cuttings and division.
Flower of D. natalensis
D. natalensis from Tsitsikamma, South Africa