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Is anyone currently growing any of these plants?

aliciae "Plains form"
sp. Rhodesia
sp. malwai
sp. South Africa

Also the legitimate species: affinis, alba, burkeana, cuneifolia, galabripes, hilaris, pillosa, trinervia, or venusta?

I would love to see a discussion of these plants happen, so c'mon all you South African growers, lets get it going!
I read a posting on another sight that some one had decided to pin fake names on some of the plants he sold, to improve sales causing kaos in the taxonomy of these drosera? some of the above list where some of the names he had used, did some one acutally do that?does any body know about this?
Yes jodajo, this seems to happen a lot, about 90 % of the available seed of these species ends up being spatulata or some other similar "weed". Which is sad, because people get their hopes up only to have them smashed because someone wants to get an extra few bucks.

Tamlin, you already know but for everyone else I grow affinis and glabripes and possibly sp. rhodesia (also called madagascariensis ssp. rhodesia??).

I would like to see some discussion among s.a. drosera growers, we need to share information if we want to keep these rarer plants alive and growing.


I have coccicaulis..

At least that is what it is called.  From Triffid Park.  I am probably one of the worst at IDing Drosera but it seems to fit the description.  My understanding is that there is question that it is even a valid species by some people..
Anyway, here is a picture of the coccicaulis


I also have trinervia, glabripes.. jacoby (I think)
Many of these I am trying for the first time so have alot to learn.
How difficult is it to grow the majority of the south african sundews? would they be easily suited to the cetral to south florida enviroment or would they require special care. I did some reading tonight on some of the names tamlin put up but but other than that these are new to me.I will reserch them further in the next while, but any info. that you could provide for futer reference , or that would help me reaserch these more adequately would be great. i know that they seed copiously and some require dry dormancy, do all of them have these characteristics or just some?
Thanks JOEL

I have Drosera labelled:
sp. Rhodesia
sp. South Africa

that came from pretty reliable sources. I can attempt to get a camera and get photos or are you looking for seed?

I brought this up because Robert Gibson and I have been having some good discussion on this topic.  For anyone that doesn't know, Robert is a world authority on Droseracae currently working on his PhD.

First off, as regards to these "bogus" species we have to draw a line between neat looking plants that are fun to grow vs. legitimately published species which have been reviewed by the International Congress of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN).  The first names listed are all "bogus" species.  This means that there is no published protologue: which is the description of the plant in Latin published in a Journal of some sort, nor has there been a herborized specimen placed in an appropriate botanical institution.  Both steps are necessary to assign legitimate species rank.  The problem with names like this is there is no central authority to consult, no type specimen to look at, so the names can mean anything.

For example, in my conversation with Robert, he mentioned that the coccicaulis he has seen in Australia more resembles what he has seen called venusta here in the states.  Tony's plant of coccicaulis looks just like mine: but when Robert and I speak of this, how do I know the plant he has in mind looks like our coccicaulis?  Are Tony and I really growing venusta then?  Perhaps by comparing photos a consensus could be reached, but what of plants so named that neither of us cultivate?  How can we ever determine if we are referring to the same discreet form?  We can't.  This is why bogus names are so frustrating, and why they are not allowed by taxonomists.  It is also why 2 growers with the same named plants often have very different appearing plants.

If you type in Drosera esterhuyseniae in the ICPS databank, you will see the history of the naming and renaming of this plant.  I have spoken with many growers who strongly feel this is a species on it's own, but again, opinions based on small samples don't have much weight.  Genetics, metric evaluation and statistics do.

Jodajo mentions companies pinning these names on plants to beef up their sales catalog.  This may occasionally be true, but there are other factors to consider.  There is a process of speciation going on with the South African species, and the lines between species blurr.  Natalensis is very variable across its range: the lamina can be wedge shaped to orbicular spatulate, the rosettes depressed or even ascending.  To look at them, you would doubt that they were the same specie at all.  Add to this the fact that natalensis and aliciae intergrade into each other where their range overlaps, and you can begin to see the huge taxonomic problems this complex presents.  Aliciae from different populations usually presents different forms.  Some of these forms were described and published, but their rank was disputed and here is why:

To assign species status to coccicaulis for example would open the door for a huge expansion in the number of species assigned to South Africa, based on small observational differences in form.  With so much variation within the complex, this is not acceptable, and further work, possiblyin genetics will have to serve to determine species rank.  This is the sort of work Vitor Fernandes Oliveira de Miranda is doing in Brazil.

I hope this explains somewhat why these plants have not been formally classified.  However, this does not affect the fact that their forms are of interest to collectors, and this is why the different nurseries and private collectors try maintain these names: they are the only thing that implies distinguishment from other forms.  We want to distinguish the beautiful large all red "jacobii" from the common "venusta", and keep it in cultivation, not let it sink into the obscurity of the natalensis complex!  Sadly, the names listed mean very little without the location and collection data of the population the plant came from.  As I said, the seed could be anything, and from anywhere.  Mistakes In ID can happen very easily, and not necessairily by unethical intent.  Those without taxonomic bent usually accept a plant or seed as it is given to them, and share it many times never knowing that the material was not bona fide to begin with.  Nurseries who acquire seed donated to seed banks by well intentioned but deluded growers often begin to market the material under the name it was acquired.  Material like sp. Auyan Tepui (at least for me!!&#33
turned out to be spatulata,  just as Noah said.  This species should be renamed Drosera dissapointum!

Since these plants remain in circulation, so how can we determine what anyone really has under the name?  This is where Pete Thiel's proposed photo data base could come in handy.  If everyone could post what they had growing under a particular name, there might be a little clarification through observational consensus: if most of the photos looked alike and one didn't, it would be reasonable to exclude that single different plant, and accept the accurancy of the many.  Such material might be occasionally reviewed by some very experienced experts if it was centrally available.

With the South Africans in particular, the classification of the species is very much opinion.  Opinion backed by good field study, carries more weight than opinions generated from viewing only a few isolated members of a population.  The greater the number examined, the more we will learn.

Jodajo asks about the cultural requirements.  How about it?  How do you grow your South Africans?  Have you tried different temp. ranges and substrate?  I am new to many of these plants too.  Tony, how is galabripes doing for you?

Noah, what form does your sp. Rhodesia take.

Can either of you post a photo?

Thanks for the response, and for the chance to share my thoughts.  I always wondered why coccicaulis wasn't considered legit, so my conversation with Robert was very illuminating,  I hope it helps shed some light into the muddy waters of misidentity.

Thanks for the photo, it is a very beautiful plant regardless of what it is named! Here are my thoughts. I think your plant conforms more to what I have seen around as venusta, based on the longer petioles and overall coloration. Coccicaulis maintains a golden coloration even when in full sun, and its shorter petioles gives the whole plant a more compact form.

Also coccicaulis has a flange of tissue along the margins on the lower third of each leaf, giving the leaf a slight bulge at its base, similar to what D. slackii has if you are familiar with this species.

Venusta has marked similarities to the natalensis forms, and I feel that coccicaulis appears morhologicaly closer to dielsiana, than to natalensis.

If anyone else has either of these two so named plants in their collections it would be very good to see them. Please post your photos.

I welcome any thoughts or critique. Remember, this is all opinion and there is no right or wrong, and the more we can see the better.

I encourage any comments or critique of my opinion.
  • #10
Hi Pete,

I am always interested in seed, certainly, but even more interested in the exploring of consensus among various growers of these plants!

You planted the seed of this idea in my brain, and I thought this might be an easy way to gather the data in one place where it might be easily reviewed by those more expert than I.
  • #11
Hi Tamlin (and everyone else too

I have one small seedling of seed I got labeled d. madagascariensis. I gave some seed to Ivan and he said the seed looked like sp. rhodesia. It is still to small for a picture to do much good.

A while back I sent you some mature sp. rhodesia plants, did these make it? Mine sadly withered away after a little while.

From what I saw of these plants they definetaly looked like a subspecies of d. madagascariensis. I have also often seen references of d. madagascariensis ssp. rhodesia or var. rhodesia. What are your thoughts on the subject? I currently also have young plantlets of d. madagascariensis and d. madagascariensis 'botswana' (or sp. 'botswana' ?).

One the subject of venusta/coccicaulis... a few months ago you sent me several packets of seed, one labeled coccicaulis. One week later you emailed saying it was actually most likely venusta. Either way, I have several small plantlets of this one.


  • #13

Good idea. we may need to add on a way for people to upload photos if they have no webserver access themselves but the community format is great.

  • #14
I have not fiddled much with different potting mixes. Most seem to do ok for me in a fairly course sand and peat mix. They are sitting on a bench that has a little water in it the majority of the time. Glabripes seems to give me the biggest problem. They will be doing fine and then just get some sort of root rot and turn yellow. Perhaps this species would like to dry out a little more as it has very thick fleshy roots from my experience.
Here is a picture of the glabripes:

The 'description' I read about coccicaulis was that it was very closely related to dielsiana. But doesn't form a flat rosette. Which is what mine appears to be like.
Here is a picture of one dielsiana I have, which is what the majority look like

All of these plants are also from Triffid Park.
  • #15

The plants which you sent came labeled as sp. Botswana, not sp. Rhodesia.  The plants were very tall, on an ascending stem, with many brown leaves along its length.  If you sent sp. Rhodesia, I never got them.  The plants you sent went dormant, but came back.  No flowers yet, and I anticipate another dormancy soon.

I've tried a websearch to find a photo of Sp. Botswana without success, but I am emailing you one.  Let me know if this conforms to your impression of the plant.

Do the small plants labeled coccicaulis look like the plants that Tony posted?  The coloration seems a good indicator as regards this.  All the plants that I have seen have this golden color.  I believe the seed was in fact coccicaulis, and my correction was based on the fact that coccicaulis is illegitimate, and it seemed to me closest to venusta.  It seems that there is always something new to learn about the South Africans!

Anyone else have a photo of either sp. Botswana, sp. Rhodesia, or madagascariensis var. major?

Thanks for the link - this also appears to conform to what I think coccicaulis is.

Thanks for the nice shot of the galabripes. I just got germination (2 seedlings) so your cultural advice is very welcome.
  • #16
I just opened up some new headings to help keep things sorted. Lets try to start a new header for each species under discussion. Thanks again for the input!
  • #18
Aren’t those sub-species of pygmy sundews? They grow in South Africa? Odd, isn’t it dry over there?

  • #19
South Americans eh, hmmm...lets see what i can dig up lol:

Here are my plants:

Drosera venusta
Drosera nidiformis
Drosera collinsiae
Drosera ssp. rhodesia (i thought it was a form of madagacariensis)

Odd, it seems i do better with south americans then pygmy dews. I wonder why lol.

Oh yea, Tony, I LOVE that glabripes. Gotta hook me up

And for my soil mixes: nidiformis, collinsiae, and sp. rhodesia are in peat/sand (50/50) while my venusta is thriving in a mix of long fibered sphagnum (ran out of peat/sand lol, so i stuck it in sphagnum lol, hey it works)
  • #20
Hi Travis,

Pygmy Drosera are all native to Australia.  These are, in fact, from South Africa.

Coccicaulis is most probably from the Cape area, and Robert Gibson says: "and it is worth noting that sundews from near Humansdorp, on the southern coast of South Africa are morphologically very similar to this variant" in his ACPS article.  The plant was never formally described, so there is no type specimen.

Venusta was properly and formally described by Debbert
and the type specimen was from north George in the Oteniqua Mts.  (Mountains always imply cool conditions).

South Africa falls into the southern Temperature Zone enjoying a warm climate all  year round. A Mediterranean climate prevails along the Cape coast with winter rainfall.  Summer is from October to March.
Temperature varies from lows of 15º C (60º F) to highs of 30º C ( 96º F), with occasional chilly nights.  

Winters require warm clothing, and are wet from frequent rains. Winter is from April to September.
Temperature vary from lows of 0º C (32º F) to highs of 18º C ( 66º F).

Humidity is high in the summer, less in the winter and less the further inland you go. There is a lot of sun in both seasons.