Tiny Sundew (Drosera pygmaea)

The grains of sand will give you a few clues about how tiny these plants are.

How exciting it is to find another species of Sundew – I love Sundews almost as much I love the Orchids.  The striking foliage and almost alien shapes and colours really grab my attention.  Add to that the contrasting purity of white (or pink in some species) flowers and I can’t stop looking at them.

I’ve noticed tiny red circles on the ground ever since we moved here, but I never imagined they were flowers, let alone insectivorous Sundew plants! The circles were so tiny, I assumed the growth was either a lichen or a moss. As I don’t have a good reference for moss and lichen species, I didn’t have as much curiosity as I have for flowering plants.   Today was overcast and the conditions here are still so dry, not a lot is in flower.  So, the red colour caught my eye.   Then the circular pattern caught my attention. I recognised the ‘spokes’ as a Drosera pattern.  Blowing the images up on the computer, I could see sticky drops of moisture on the spines which cover the red, circular leaves.

Initially I was thrown as most of the field guides I have don’t mention Drosera  pygmaea.  In the end I did a Google search and found a list of 116 species of Drosera which are native to Australia. Cross referencing with a few online sites, I narrowed down to the species found in our area, and another Google search to locate images for each of these species.  Finally, there it was in all of its splendour!

Looking at other photographs, I see that this species has white flowers on long slender stalks.  One of the Tiny Sundews I photographed seems to have a bud about to open.  By the time I discovered this, it was too dark to return for another shot.  So, tomorrow I will see if I can find one in flower.  My guess is that this will not be as easy as it sounds.  Look how large the grains of sand look alongside the plant.

When I took this photograph I didn’t notice the bud, about to flower.

16 thoughts on “Tiny Sundew (Drosera pygmaea)

    1. It’s wonderful to have someone who shares my enthusiasm for them. I get excited each year when I notice them growing again. This is a new one to add to the mix. 🙂

  1. It’s amazing the variety of species… 116! I think we have 5 different types here in the Cape. They’re all the more fascinating being insectivorous, and which bugs land up being ensnared. Good macro shots, such micro-sized plants.

      1. Thanks! Will have a look. Today I came across a most beautiful tree growing outside our local museum. -I think a Stenocarpus grevillea – the label stated a Wheel tree – of Australian orign. It has gorgeous orangey/red blossoms.

      2. I wasn’t familiar with the Stenocarpus grevillea so I looked it up on Google. There were an assortment of images, but ‘Wheel Tree’ gives me the clue that it is probably one with the circular flowers which look as if they have spokes. I’ll keep my eyes open for one of these in someone’s garden now! Lisa

    1. Thank you. There are also larger Sundews which I have photographed: Climbing Sundew, Scented Sundew and Tall Sundew – see the A-Z Index at the top of my page for links. Also, Australia wide there are something like 140 species of Sundew. An amazing plant. They are so sculptural regardless of the species. I just love them. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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