Spring is coming

Spring is coming

For a few weeks near the end of winter, both hot and cold dormant carnivorous plants can be found growing together. This location in a national park in northern Sydney is home to an impressive diversity of four species of Drosera and three species of Utricularia (and perhaps a few more subspecies).

Red form of Drosera peltata

In Sydney, the rains at the start of the winter soak into the ground and continually release water throughout the season. The cool weather and weaker sun allows for the hydration of shallow moss gardens on top of sandstone, in which the small red form of Drosera peltata grows. After a few months of productive growth, this species flowers at the end of winter before retreating back into a dormant tuber to survive the bone dry summer.

Drosera spatulata

Nearby, Drosera spatulata also enjoy the wet seepages. This species turns a vivid red coloration during winter, probably due to environmental conditions such as reduced food sources, cold temperatures and sunny days. While this species doesn’t truly go dormant, they can enter a hibernation state during the regular summer droughts.

Drosera binata

Drosera binata emerges from its winter dormancy as the day length increases and temperature rises. Unlike the Queensland populations, which grow year round, plants around Sydney enter a truly dormant state.

Utricularia uniflora

Often growing as a companion to D. binata, Utricularia uniflora inhabits permanenty wet seepages. Interestingly this year, the species continued to flower throughout winter (probably due to an abnormally warm season and global warming).

Green scrambling form of Drosera peltata

Away from the creek line, the tall scrambling form of D. peltata grows amongst the grasses in seasonally moist peat. Compared to the red form, these plants are an olive green color and reach over 30 cm, using nearby plants as supports.

Drosera pygmaea

Drosera pygmaea inhabits sandy, exposed aspects. The main growing season for this species is winter, when the soils are moist and the weather cool. This year, the plants already show signs of dormancy with a tuft of white reflective leaves protecting the central rosette. This species only has a weak dormancy and can be awakened by downpours during summer growing until the water dries up again.

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