Taxonomy -- June 1980

Carnivorous Plant Newsletter
Volume 9, Number 2, June 1980, pages 46 & 48


by Peter Tsang
Brisbane, Qd., Australia

Way up north where there is no snow and way up north where the big gums grow, comes this beautiful beautiful new sundew. It is always exciting to discover a new plant but it may not be necessary that the new found plant has the beauty or any interesting aspect, from the hobbiests' stand-point, to match the excitement of its dis cover,. Any scientific significance is another matter.

However, this sundew is unusual as well as beautiful and, above all, its new! Whether it has been come across by person or persons in the past, I do not know. But definitely new in the sense that it has never been listed or published before. The discoverer of this sundew is a good friend of mine of long standing and has been collecting various CPs and native tropical fishes for me from time to time as we do a lot of exchanges nationally and internationally. It was during one of these collecting trips that my friend stumbled upon this new sundew. I have given live materials to our Government botanist and CPN member Dr. Laverack to study. Unfortunately, no classification can be made until they flower again next summer as at the time of discovery, the flowering period was just over. If possible, I would like this sundew be named DROSERA FALCONERI in honor of its discoverer. (Fig. 1)

My friend, Mr. Falconer described that this sundew is found in a very restricted area and the colony is extremely small. No photogaph could be taken to show of its natural habitat due to very tall grass densely covering the area. A pecularity was noted in this particular area in that the pH of the soil reads around 8 instead of the normal common characteristic in Northern Territory where soil is in general with low (acid) pH.

Upon close examination of this sundew, I am inclined to believe that it must belong to the same group as D. petiolaris (Fig. 2) because of their great similarity in their root structure and their tomentose crown when dormant. Yes, even in the far north of Australia where there is no winter and plants still go dormant because of the extreme high contrast of wet and dry seasons. D. petiolaris has long and slender petioles which when young, tends to be pubescent where as the new sundew has short, broad and glaborous petioles. The glands on the leaves of this new Drosera are extremely fine almost like those of the pygmy species.

After the initial shock, my plants are starting to put on new leaves but it is still too early to tell how well they will fare, long term wise, in Brisbane. A very limited plants will be available for exchange only.

Fig. 1 (left). New species of Drosera. Photo by Peter Tsang
Fig. 2 (right). D. Petiolaris. Photo by Peter Tsang

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