Species spotlight: Drosera barbigera
barbigera

Species spotlight: Drosera barbigera

The attractive profile of Drosera barbigera
The attractive profile of Drosera barbigera

Drosera barbigera is an extremely attractive species of pygmy sundew that combines the most unique characteristics of the taxon. I found the species growing atop a lateric hill around 200 km north of Perth in my 2019 expedition to WA.

Drosera barbigera combines the most stunning features of the pygmy Drosera: raised leaves, a long stem and a large metallic orange flower.
Drosera barbigera combines the most stunning features of the pygmy Drosera: raised leaves, a long stem and a large metallic orange flower.

Drosera barbigera forms a relatively large rosette of around 5 cm in diameter. The leaves are raised from the center, creating a spherical profile of leaves somewhat reminiscent of Drosera neocaledonica. The species also forms a long stem of old growth, with the longest lived specimens reaching around 10 cm in height. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the stunning orange flower, a large bloom that rivals even those of non-pygmy Drosera in size and certainly beats them in terms of coloration. The vivid orange petals have a metallic orange sheen and a contrasting black center.

The flower of Drosera barbigera with a pollinating beetle.
The flower of Drosera barbigera with a pollinating beetle.

Drosera barbigera grows on the slopes and tops of laterite hills throughout south western Western Australia. Whilst exposed, the winter rains are sufficient to keep them moist throughout the growing season. In the hot summer, the habitat dries out and the species retreats into a dormant period. The species flowers relatively early for a pygmy sundew and I was able to see plenty of blooms in early September. It appears that it is mostly pollinated by beetles, which I observed flying from flower to flower to feed on pollen or nectar.

Drosera barbigera grows on the slops and tops of lateric hills.
Drosera barbigera grows on the slops and tops of lateric hills.
An old specimen with a particularly long stem.
An old specimen with a particularly long stem.
A mass of blooming plants in a laterite field atop a hill.
A mass of blooming plants in a laterite field atop a hill.
A plant growing amongst shrubs on the slope of a laterite hill
A plant growing amongst shrubs on the slope of a laterite hill

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