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Thread: Drosera arcturi- Lake Mountain, Australia.

  1. #1

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    Hi everyone,

    It's been a while since I've been on any fieldtrips so I decided to check out a spot called Lake Mountain today. I travelled there with George (Binataboy) and a couple of other friends to locate a population of Drosera arcturi which is known from this area.

    Lake Mountain is a cross country skiing area which is covered in snow from about June to October. When the snow melts, the Drosera arcturi begin to grow. The spot is around 150 kms from the city of Melbourne, about a 1.5 hour drive through densely forested Eucalypt mountains.

    Anyway, this was the first time I'd been here looking for Drosera arcturi as the previous time I'd visited I wasn't aware the species was found there. After a walk of about 15 minutes from the car park at the top of the mountain we spotted a small lake from the cross country skiing track we were walking on. It was obvious that the small lake was surrounded by sphagnum moss.

    Here is a shot of the lake with snow gums in the background and dense low heathland in the foreground-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi%20habitat6%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    We were forced to push through incredibly dense and spikey vegetation to make our way down to the waters edge. This was made even more difficult by the invisible streams which cut through the shrubs under sphagnum. By the time we reached the lake my boots were sodden.

    There were quite a few Drosera arcturi plants found around the main lake but slightly upstream from the lake was a series of smaller waterholes where the Drosera arcturi grew in astonishing numbers. I couldn't believe how dense some of the patches of the plants were. I had never seen anything like this in any of the photos I've seen. My jaw dropped in amazement!

    Here is a shot of a smaller waterhole just upstream from the main lake. Check out the bottom right corner of the shot where you can see numerous Drosera arcturi plants-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi%20habitat%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    This photo shows the edge of the smaller waterhole. You can see many of the red plants of Drosera arcturi just back from the waters edge. This sight was impressive but better was to come-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi%20habitat2%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    George (Binataboy) pictured on the right and the guys tread softly to avoid the thousands of Drosera arcturi plants everywhere beneath their feet-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi%20habitat5%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    Now to the plants. Here is a shot of a beautiful clump of plants growing amongst pure sphagnum moss at the waters edge. These plants grow in full sun and had finished flowering. Seed capsules were forming but not quite mature. The plants were at their peak and you would not see them in better condition that what they were in-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    A closer shot of some plants with the old flower scapes clearly visible above the leaves. The plants of this population were approximately 4 inches (10 cms) tall-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi10%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    Now a close up of a single plant. It was very difficult to find an isolated plant as they all seemed to grow in huge colonies. You can see here the typical form of the species. Generally the plants will only have 4-5 healthy leaves at a time-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi11%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    Check out my next post for more photos. They get better!

    Sean.

  2. #2

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    Wow, great. I love it, thanks for sharing.

  3. #3

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    Here is another shot of Drosera arcturi plants growing amongst pure sphagnum moss-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi12%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    A mass of plants growing at the waters edge and even into the water-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi16%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    I couldn't believe how many plants were present in this area. Here is part of another huge patch-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi2%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    I don't know how many plants would have made up this massive colony-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi20%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    A few more patches along the edge of the waterhole-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi22%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    A profile of the waters edge showing Drosera arcturi growing along the length of it-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi23%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    And finally a closer shot of a mass of leaves from many plants-

    [img]http://home.**********.com/hoppers/images/Drosera%20arcturi7%20Lake%20Mountain%20310104.JPG[/img]

    I hope you enjoyed seeing a little snapshot of these great plants in habitat. I certainly did!

    Sean.

  4. #4

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    WOW>>>>>>>wonderland!

  5. #5

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    WWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is the best photo essay yet Sean! Thanks for this great gift to us all of this remarkable species so few of us will ever have the chance to see.

    Drosera arcturi is one of the "Great Old Ones" in regards to Drosera species, if not *the* oldest species. Once thought to be closely related to D. stenopetala and D. uniflora, recent genetic studies have demonstrated a close relationship to D. regia, and have disproven the assumption that the plant is closely related to the above 2 species, despite similar characteristics.

    I would have gotten my boots wet and by body scratched up in a New York minute for the pleasure of seeing this thriving population. I have never seen so many plants concentrated in one locale.

    I think seed grown plants of this species population would be more likely to be successful in cultivation than the alpine forms found in New Zealand, which have presented problems in overwintering. I hope you can take a sensitive sample after seed set and try your hand at growing them. I suspect that plants would fare will in the same protocol I used for my D. graminifolia, since the species seems to prefer a similar "seep" scenario.

    Part of the difficulty in cultivation with this species is a short growing season, and the few numbers of leaves produced. Providing the strong light these plants need for their flowering and seed set is difficult indoors, but I don't think that it is impossible.

    Thanks for showing us a bit more of the incredible diversity of your country, although once again it makes me wish I was born down under instead of up over. You realize no doubt that you could place all these photos in a book and charge the rest of us for the priveledge of seeing them - your photo's are the very best that have ever been seen! It never fails to delight me when I experience your repeated kindness and generosity to our community. Me 'ats off to ya, mate!
    "Grow More, Share More"

  6. #6

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    Woweee! Thanks for sharing! That must have been an exhilarating trip!

    SF

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys. Tamlin, I live within 1.5 hours from the plant and it has taken me over 30 years to see it! I've known it's been there for quite a while but never managed to get up there. I can't believe it took me so long.

    I thought that D. arcturi was still considered a close relative of stenopetala and uniflora. I had no idea its closest relative was D. regia.

    I had seen photos of the plants before, but these only showed a few plants growing near each other that were quite small. When I saw this population I was totally blown away. The plants were much larger than expected and obviously in much greater numbers.

    We did collect a small amount of seed to try and germinate. I agree with you that this variety should be much easier to grow than the NZ and Tasmanian varieties. Lake Mountain is at an altitude of about 1500 metres (feet??) and quite low in comparison to other arcturi habitats. It is the lowest habitat in which the plants occur in mainland Australia. The snow season up there is much shorter than other habitats as well. Therefore the growing season is longer than most other areas.

    Temps in summer reach about 30 degC on top of the mountain and the plants grow in full sun. I'll be trying to emulate these conditions when I grow it. I'm more worried about giving the plants a good dormancy as our winter temps here in Melbourne are not cold enough for the plants. I'll work something out before then.

    I really am lucky to live down here where I can see these and other great plants growing throughout the year, all within close proximity to my house. It still ain't no WA though!

    Regards,

    Sean.

  8. #8
    drosera guy
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    Hi Sean, try putting them in the frigde for dormancy. That works with all other temperate species, too.

    Jan

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