For the past 10 months, I had the good fortune of being able to grow and flower 2-7 plants of each of the seven tropical Byblis species.
At first, I noticed that there seemed to be some variation between each species in terms of the how their leaves looked in very bright light. But being an apartment CP grower with no interest in taxonomy, I soon went back to pure appreciation of these beautiful plants glistening in the tropical afternoon sun.
However, during one conversation with Greg Allen about these plants, he mentioned that he too noticed how different the tentacles and dew drops looked for different species. That's it! I couldn't quite pinpoint what was different but he hit the nail on the head!
Upon taking a closer look at my own plants and by going through as many photos of other growers as I can, I photographed the leaves of each species, hoping to capture the following features.
1. distribution of tentacles (number of tentacles per unit length)
2. length of tentacles (compared to thickness of leaf)
3. size of dew drops (with respect to the length of tentacles)
The photographs were taken from flowering adult plants. They are not representative of all leaves of all species and forms.
Some of the features observed (pls click on species name to go to respective albums).
B. guehoi (AL13) and B. guehoi (RES) – most dense in terms of distribution of tentacles, tentacles of varying lengths (rather extreme, very short and very long)
B. aquatica (AL1) – tentacles distribution rather sparse, tentacles of similar lengths and the largest dew drops with respect to length of tentacles
B. rorida (AL20) and B. rorida (AL21) – distribution of tentacles more dense than B. aquatica, large dew drops, tentacles of 2-3 lengths but not too different
B. filifolia (AL7) and B. filifolia (Pago giant, GA) – tentacles of rather similar lengths, dew drops size varies between forms but never as large as rorida
B. liniflora (AL18) – tentacles of varied lengths (like B. guehoi) but not as many tentacles per unit length, dew drop size is similar to B. filifolia
B. sp. Pilbara (AL22) - tentacles distribution, density and dew drop size are significantly different from other species
B. guehoi x 'Goliath' - somewhat in-between the different species?
Most species - tentacles close to the stem tend to be of more similar lengths than those further away; very obvious for B. guehoi.
There is variation between the 3 features observed on the leaf and the pedicel! And between a seedling, a young plant and a flowering plant! Those will be next year's projects...if I can "immunise" myself to Byblis pollen, having developed an allergy to it due to last year's eagerness to manually-pollinate every flower I see.
Perhaps leaf features could be used in conjunction with flower features for distinguishing between species? I'll leave that to the experts. Meanwhile, let me go back to enjoying the remaining of the annual species at my balcony in the setting sun...before they too disappear for the year...