Drosera pygmaea

Drosera pygmaea

Drosera pygmaea is a pygmy sundew native to Australia and New Zealand. It is the only pygmy sundew that is found outside of Western Australia (although it also found along the south coast of WA). As its name suggests, it is very diminutive and reaches a maximum diameter of around 2.5 cm. The species has many leaves with an orbicular lamina and a long wispy petiole. The tentacles are typically red, even in poor lighting. The flowers are small and usually have only 4 white petals (as opposed to the usual white).

The species grows in a wide range of habitats, although they are usually found somewhat close to winter water sources. It can usually be reliably found in exposed heath-type environments, particularly shallow sandy skeletal soils or depleted yellow clays. Other suitable habitats include ditches at the side of walking trails, seepages and the peaty edges of swamps. During summer, the plants often form a tuft of protective stipules at the center of the rosette. These modified hairs are white and reflective, to protect the plant from the sun in hot conditions. The species can enter a dormant period in summer, however, in places where water is available year round, the plants put out leaves continuously.

Drosera pygmaea can be distinguished firstly by its range, as it is the only pygmy sundew to grow outside of Western Australia. A very similar taxon, described as Drosera micra by Lowrie, grows in the Perth region. This taxon is similar in all respects but is apparently smaller. The two taxa do not overlap in range, with D. pygmaea growing along the south coast of WA. In its range, D. pygmaea is distinguished by its four petaled blooms.

Drosera pygmaea in Sydney. Note the many leaves, each with an orbicular lamina and straight thin petiole. Growing in sand between the gaps of sandstone pebbles aside a walking trail through coastal heath.
Drosera pygmaea in sandy clay in the Wilsons Promontory. This image was taken June. Note the gemmae at the center of the rosette.
Drosera pygmaea in the Wilson’s Promontory at the end of December. Note the 4-petaled flowers.
Drosera pygmaea at the end of November in the Blue Mountains. Note the dense bud of reflective stipules.
A (relatively) large specimen of D. pygmaea. This is around the max size.
Drosera pygmaea growing in sandy depleted soils alongside a walking trail in Sydney.
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