A very unusual Sundew Plant

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beetleman
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A very unusual Sundew Plant

Post by beetleman »

This is The sundew Drosera Ordensis from Australia. What makes it so unusual are the hairs on the leaves. First picture is a shot of the whole plant, about 4" in diameter (slight crop to off center the plant) . The second shot is a closer look and a stack of 11 pictures, and the third is still closer, at 20x digital and a stack of 12 pictures. You can see a few little nats (small flying insects :wink: ) captured in the traps.

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Last edited by beetleman on Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

I always find carnivorous plants to be quite interesting there Doug but sometimes I wonder. If they are eating bugs to stay alive, then why, tell me, do they need dirt to live in? Oh well, stupid questions deserve smart aleck answeres :lol: Anyway some very interesting shots there Doug, good work on the stacks. :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Ken Ramos wrote:If they are eating bugs to stay alive, then why, tell me, do they need dirt to live in?
As I understand it, they eat the bugs for nitrogen. Everything else, they get from the soil. (Well, OK, except the carbon dioxide, which they get from the air.) There was an article in Wings a while back that talked about these plants from a resource balance standpoint. Seems that insect-eating plants really live "on the edge", so to speak. Their insect-catching parts are expensive to build and don't give much return on investment. So if the environment is bit more nutrient-rich, they lose out to other plants, and if it's a bit more nutrient-poor, the insect-eaters can't make it either. It's a pretty narrow niche these things fit into! (Ken, I'm sorry... I just can't seem to do smart-aleck. <insert hanging-head emoticon> :lol: )

Doug, the photos are great! "More, more, closer, closer!" (Now where are those cheerleaders when you need them, anyway? :roll: )

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Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

I really enjoyed this series of photos Doug. An attractive and interesting plant nicely photographed. Stacking has produced 2 nice clean results.

Bruce :D

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Rik wrote:
As I understand it, they eat the bugs for nitrogen.
Goes to show just how much I know about these things or plants in general for that matter. I just always assumed that plants could fix nitrogen primarily from the soil but there seems to be only a narrow group of plants that can do so, legumes and such. So, from what you have presented here, these plants do seem to live, as you say, "on the edge" and their lives hanging in a very delicate balance, which all life, if you really think about it does. :-k I don't know if our wetlands here in Western North Carolina supports such plants and they will be something to look for during the up coming summer. I know the eastern part of my state does support the Venus Fly Trap, maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to take a trip out that way for a visit to see them in their natural habitat. :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

They still do everything a regular plant does , like process sunlight into sugars, but the soil they live in is usually so acidic, that a lot of the nitrogen and other Nutrients are bound up in the soil. The plants use the insects to supplment their nitrogen needs. They can live without insects but they will not thrive. They are small plants and like Rik stated if anything changes in their environment, lower water table, a PH change or numerous other things, they get overgrown by other plants and they are gone.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
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Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

I notice also that they are quite "fuzzy" little things. Could this "fuzz" trap moisture, in the form of condensation, from the air around them and therefore supplement their need for water or is this "fuzz" a means of holding what water they do have and prevent it from returning to the atmosphere? :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Good question Ken. Most are not fuzzy. This one is tropical, comes from western Australia and does go through a summer dry spell. The plant stops growing in the heat and sorta curls up onto itself and the leaves and hairs trap moisture to the center of the plant and protect the plant from the summer heat. They do all of their growing during the rainy Australian winter months. Some Australian sundews even produce underground tubers to survive the hot dry summer.
http://www.carnivorousplants.org/seedba ... culata.htm
I do have some D. peltata seeds from Australia that I have to sow in late summer because they are winter-tuberous forms.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
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DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Don't think the hairs are to trap moisture in this case as most insectivorous plants live in rainy or boggy places. Many succulents produce hairs as a protection from the sun, but so do plants in cold places because it traps a layer of more or less still air close to the stem or leaves which will be warmer or cooler than the prevailing conditions.

Also in the case of succulents the trapped slow moving air will not dehydrate them as quickly as moving air would.

DaveW

Gordon C. Snelling
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Post by Gordon C. Snelling »

Great plant and photos, I grew this species many years ago when it was still undescribed and going by the name of Drosera species Kununurra. Found it to be one of the easier species of this group to grow. They have a rather nice flower as well. This species and many of those in the group seem to do better in high heat conditions but if they get too dry they will go dormant as described.
D. peltata and auriculata are by far about the easiest of the tuberous species to grow. I have had good germination pretty much year round from them.

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Strange how different people can grow plants and others can't, but they may be able to grow plants the former person cannot.

Years ago we had a chap in our cactus society who used to grow carnivorous plants as well. He used to get them sent to him by friends abroad pre CITES.

He went up to Kew one day and asked them about a certain species of sundew and was told "it is very rare and a bit tricky, we have it now in micro propagation." He had a good laugh to himself as he told us it came up as a pot weed with him all around the greenhouse.

Never believe that botanical gardens, no matter how prestigious their reputation, are always the best plant raisers, many amateurs can beat the pants of them when it comes to tricky subjects.

Years ago many of the then newer Mesembs were cultivated for Kew by an amateur who was a London bus driver because he was the leading UK expert on them of his day and the best propagator. Also when staff and their interest change at these institutions important collections that have been built up can get neglected. I gather an important collection of Mammillarias was in rather a neglected state a few years ago at one British institution after the researcher who built it up left.

This is one of the problems CITES has caused. Due to it's inbuilt bureaucracy it doesn't always ensure that rare propagation material is distributed to those best able to raise and disseminate it. But often only to public institutions who are often rather indifferent as to it's worth and loath to distribute it other than to similar institutions rather than to amateurs or the trade who ensure more rapid propagation and preservation.

DaveW

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