Around Harvey, Western Australia
September, 1995, I visited Phill Mann and spent an afternoon looking for
sundews in the hills east of Harvey. Our brief expedition proved to be very
successful as we found 11 species of Drosera, many in the peak of their growth
cycle and growing in great abundance. The following is an account of the
species seen and their growing conditions.
ssp ? collina
green to orange robust rosettes of a taxa of Drosera erythrorhiza very similar to ssp collina were seen
in a few locations in the Jarrah forest. The first site was a shaded, poorly
defined creek bed where the scattered rosettes, to 7cm diameter, grew in peaty,
moist soil. The plants grew with D.
gigantea and none had flowered.
taxon grew in greater abundance in an area of lower density trees on an area
with orange, rounded gravel piesolite-covered soil. The area was well drained,
and the irregular, very coarse soil was uncomfortable to lie on. Here, however,
this attractive variant grew in abundance. The fully bedewed rosettes to 10 cm
diameter were variably orange pigmented and often grew in small clusters. This
taxon, with 4 to 6 ovate leaves, and with rare asexual reproduction appears
closest to ssp. collina. More work, however, is
warranted on this, and other taxa in the
D. erythrorhiza complex.
Drosera gigantea was seen in two sites, the first
was in the bed of poorly formed creek in open Jarrah forest, on soil derived
from laterite. The soil was moist, with some accumulation of organic matter on
the surface. The plants grew amongst clumps of sedges, in the shadow of a range
of shrubs of the Myrtaceae
family. Despite the time of year the D.
gigantea plants here were still forming the initial branches and were
months away from flowering. Many still looked like stalks of asparagus, and
they growing the company of variably green to orange rosettes, to 10 cm
diameter, of D. erythrorhiza ssp ? collina.
second site was on a sodden, north facing granite slope which supported few
woody plants. An abundance of annual and summer-dormant, often tuberous, herbs
grew abundantly in the moss, and Borya-covered
thin soil. Here D. gigantea grew in
abundance and, in contrast to the previous site, most plants were in flower.
The plants were generally golden green, although some plants had red stems, and
produced a golden green glow when backlit by light of the setting sun. The
plants grew to 70cm tall, and were most abundant towards the top of the granite
outcrop, perhaps due to the slightly deeper soil where the slope was not too
great. In places the plants grew in such abundance that it was difficult not to
damage plants when moving around the site. Despite the abundance of flowers
produced by the plants here in most general this species rarely sets seed in
the wild. Perhaps the abundance of Drosera
gigantea plants at this site reflects prolific asexual reproduction from
the production of daughter tubers underground and by the formation of tuber s
from the leaves of fallen plants. Perhaps this species needs a fire the summer
before to trigger a greater amount of seedset? This sundew grew with D. stolonifera ssp stolonifera, D.
macrantha ssp macrantha and D. glanduligera at this amazing site.
Drosera glanduligera were seen in the
area. The plants had golden green rosettes to 3cm diameter, many of which were
just starting to produce scapes. Plants were seen in moist sandy peat soil of a
swampy creek bed which slowly cuts its way through the Jarrah forest. Plants
were also seen growing in sodden moss, amongst boulders, on a north facing
granite outcrop over which fresh water was continually seeping. This annual
grew in the company of Drosera pallida,
D. gigantea, D.stolonifera ssp stolonifera and D. macrantha ssp. macrantha.
Drosera macrantha ssp macrantha
first species of sundew found on the trip were climbing plants of Drosera macrantha ssp macrantha which
grew in well drained laterite-derived soil on roadside embankments. Many plants
grew immediately beside the road. Many plants were in flower, and showed some
of the range in petal size and colour which is found in this variable taxa.
plants were also seen growing in moss, and thin soil on a moist granite outcrop
in the company of D. gigantea, D.
glanduligera and D. stolonifera ssp stolonifera.
Drosera marchantii ssp marchantii
plants of the erect growing Drosera
marchantii ssp marchantii grew in well-drained
laterite-derived soil on roadside hills, and in clearing in the jarrah forest.
This attractive species has a swollen base, with many short, bract-like leaves
at the base of its golden green stem.
Many plants were in flower at the time of our visit and the sweetly
scented, rich pink petalled flowers, to 2cm diameter were a sight to behold.
Many plants grew with D. macrantha ssp macrantha.
Drosera neesii ssp neesii
few erect plants of golden green Drosera
neesii ssp neesii were found in damp peaty sandy
soil in the swampy creek. The scattered plants often grew in, or adjacent to
channels. They were up to 20 cm tall and were at least a month away from
flowering, and could have either pink or yellow petals. This species has a
preference to growing in damp peaty soil which rarely fully dries out during
the summer, and was seen to grow near D.
glanduligera and D. pallida.
few slender climbing plants of Drosera
pallida scrambled over low woody shrubs on the drier parts of the swamp in
the Jarrah forest. This species has a smooth, slender dark green stem with
rounded leaves in threes with bright red long stalked retentive glands. In leaf
and flower size it is a variable species, which is widespread in south west
Western Australia. In this area it grew near D. neesii ssp neesii
and D. glanduligera. However, from what I’ve seen elsewhere in the state
this species is probably widespread in the Jarrah forest in the area but was
A few non-flowering rosettes of Drosera pulchella grew beside and in the
creek bed of a small ephemeral creek. The rosettes were variably hidden by
grasses and sedges, and grew in soil which was likely to remain moist well into
the summer. The plants grew downslope of an area cleared for Eucalyptus
plantations, which otherwise would have supported a range of other sundew
robust, often long stemmed plants of Drosera
scorpiodes grew in an area of open Jarrah forest, on a coarse, well drained
surface layer of which is composed of rounded, orange, gravel-sized piesolites.
The rosettes were fully bedewed, up to 4cm diameter, on often leaning stems to
10cm long, and had the first scapes of the season just emerging from the centre
of the rosette. This species grew with D.
erythrorhiza ssp ? collina, and was very attractive when
backlit by sunlight.
population of D. scorpiodes is
unusual in two respects. Either it is a very isolated population or it shows
that this species is more widespread than has been previously reported. In
addition the petal colour of these plants is an attractive dark pink. It is a
very attractive form of the species.
Drosera stolonifera ssp compacta
few very red plants of Drosera
stolonifera ssp compacta grew on the open floor of
Jarrah forest and were readily seen from a moving car. The plants grew upright,
with up to 4 stems, and, rarely, the remains of a scape. Unlike Drosera stolonifera ssp stolonifera this subspecies grew in scattered colonies, was
self-supporting and the above ground growth was immediately above the tuber.
The plants grew in moist, but well drained, sandy soil, probably on laterite.
The area where the plants had been growing had been burnt the previous summer
and the forest floor was still very open. A thin layer of bright green moss
grew on the charcoal rich layer on the soil surface. No other sundews were
found growing with this species.
Drosera stolonifera ssp stolonifera
red, multi-branched plants of Drosera
stolonifera ssp stolonifera grew in abundance in damp,
shallow soil on a prominent granite outcrop over which water was continually
flowing. The stunning red plants stood out from the accompanying grasses and
summer dormant herbs and had between 3 to 6 fully bedewed branches, to 15 cm
long. Many of the plants had flowered and most flowers had set seed, ripe seed
was being shed from the dieing scapes at the time of our visit. This species
grew with D. gigantea, D. glanduligera
and D. macrantha ssp macrantha on the more exposed part of the granite outcrop, but
this species also grew upslope on the same granite outcrop in the Jarrah
forest. This very attractive species buries its tuber deeply into crevices in
the granite. The above ground growth initially grows horizontally before the
leaf rosette, with basal leaves branching stems, and, if large enough, scape is
a few plants of the winter-growing annual herbs assist in holding the plant
upright. This species looked stunning when the large colonies of it glowed red
by the light of the setting sun behind them.
nine species of tuberous Drosera were found in all three subgenera and
it was interesting to see which plants grew together and the environments in
which they grew. The two species of pygmy Drosera
seem grew in very different environments.
was excellent to see such a range of native sundews growing in the wild on a
short trip. It provides food for through of what could be found in the area by
spending more time and travelling further in the region.
wish to thank Phill Mann for his
company and showing me a few plants in his “backyard”.