In the volcanic fields of the Tongariro alpine national park grows a diminutive form of Drosera spatulata. This form is truly adapted to an alpine lifestyle, growing 1,200 m asl and under a blanket of snow in winter.
The form has a maximum diameter of around 2 cm, although flowering sized plants often only attain half that size. The flower is as large as the standard D. spatulata, and so appears proportionally oversized. In contrast to other forms, the flower scapes are very short and each only bear one to three blooms. Plants produce multiple scapes at once.
The form was first described as Drosera minitula in 1889 by Colenso, who was perhaps so excited by his discovery that he re-described it a year later as D. triflora with no mention of the previous publication.