Species spotlight: Drosera microphylla

Species spotlight: Drosera microphylla

Drosera microphylla is an erect species of tuberous sundew that grows widely in Western Australia. Whilst its small leaves are unremarkable, the blooms of the species are especially renowned for their vivid coloration. A wide variation in the color of the flowers exist – in the south of the state where I observed them, the plants mostly had orange petals, crimson styles and golden sepals. The plant grows in a range of habitats including laterite hills, heath and granite outcrops.

The species has an erect self supporting stem up to 30 cm in height. The alternating leaves occur singly with laminae that are orbicular or slightly flattened at the top. The sepals are especially large, often just as big as the petals.

Drosera micropylla occurs as part of a complex of closely related species with small leaves and large flowers. Around Perth and to its north, most of the plants have deep red petals and have been designated as Drosera calycina. Near Esperance, a white flowered form has been separated as Drosera esperensis. Drosera microphylla sensu stricto is mostly restricted to the south coast according to Lowrie.

The flower of the southern Drosera microphylla forms is bright orange with golden sepals and crimson styles. This plant was found in the Stirling Range

A southern form of Drosera microphylla growing in heath near Walpole. The species is named for its small orbicular leaves.

Drosera microphylla colonising a granite outcrop near Walpole. The species grows in a range of habitats from moss on granite to laterite heath.
A pink flowered form of Drosera microphylla on a granite outcrop near Walpole. The species is considered a complex, with the recent separation of D. calycina, describing a crimson colored variant from the North of Perth. Nb. this flower was forced open for photography as it was too early for it to open naturally.
Drosera microphylla. Note the erect stem, alternating orbicular leaves and large sepals.
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