Sorting Out the Sundews: Victorian Drosera Species

Scented sundew plants in flower
Drosera aberrans or Scented Sundew was flowering at the end of July, when this photograph was taken.

I’ve been in touch with Andrew from the Victorian Carnivorous Plant Society to try to get more information about Sundew (Drosera) plants.  Recently I found the VCPS website, which describes twelve different Victorian species of Sundew.  I thought we had quite a few of them and had attempted to identify the various species growing on the property.  However, I had difficulty in distinguishing the difference between some of the plants which looked similar but not identical.  Andrew was extremely helpful, so I would like to thank him and the members of VCPS who assisted in identifying my photographs.

Previously posted on Fifteen Acres were
– Scented Sundew (Drosera aberrans),
– Tiny or Pygmy Sundew (Drosera pygmae),
– Climbing Sundew (Drosera macrantha)  and
– Tall Sundew (Drosera auriculaa)

Andrew confirmed all of these as being correctly identified.

Additional species were also identified: Pale Sundew (Drosera hookeri) and Drosera peltata, which does not seem to have a common name.  I will briefly outline these new speices below and create a new post for each of them to add to the Fifteen Acres A-Z Native Species list.

Leaf shape, the presence of a single central stem, multiple stems, or no stem, and colouring are three of the identifying features to look at when distinguishing similar species. Each of the new species identified has a shield-shaped leaf, as opposed to a round leaf (Drosera macrantha) or a wedge-shaped leaf (Drosera aberrans).  While there are Sundews with other leaf shapes, I haven’t found these species on our land.

The photographs below show the round leaf of the Climbing Sundew and the shield shape of the Tall Sundew.

The shield shape of this leaf Drosera auriculata leaf is quite different to the round shape of the Drosera macrantha.
The bud on this Climbing Sundew is just about to open and the round leaves are quite distinctive.






Andrew explained to me that both Drosera hookeri and Drosera peltata begin with a rosette of leaves on the ground, from which a central stem will grow.   Drosera hookeri has many branches and is a yellowish-green, while Drosera peltata is a darker green, and tends not to branch much. The leaves and stem of Drosera peltata can turn red if it is growing in strong sunlight.  There is a tall and short form of Drosera hookeri.  So, as many of the photographs I sent for identification were of basal leaves prior to stems forming,  some of the identification features are yet to develop. I also don’t think we can yet identify which of the hookeri (short or tall) are growing here, but I will keep an eye on them over the next few months to see if I can make this distinction.

Here are some of the photographs of basal rosettes which are either Drosera hookeri or Drosera peltata.  I will write a separate post on both species later in the season, when the stems have formed.

The VCPS identified this Drosera rosette as probably Hookeri but possibly Peltata
The VCPS identified this Drosera rosette as probably Hookeri but possibly Peltata
The VCPS identified this Drosera rosette as probably Hookeri but possibly Peltata


VCPS identified this plant as Drosera peltata
Some of the Drosera rosettes have now developed stems, like this one, with shield-shaped leaves.






7 thoughts on “Sorting Out the Sundews: Victorian Drosera Species

      1. OK. I’m not sure of regional differences. Some of the straight leafed species are found in more alpine regions. I’ve noticed some of the new growth is still very low (i.e. a couple of centimeters, so they could still be emerging. 🙂

  1. So envious of the varieties you have over there, and good sleuthing in getting them identified. I checked my botanical guide to see how many different species we have here in Southern Africa – just 14; Australia really impressive with over 80. What little gems they are.

    1. Thanks for telling me how many species you have over there. I don’t really know a lot about Sundews, but I find them utterly fascinating. Now that I know what to look for I’m very eager to see the stems grow. When I get time I also want to go back over photos I took over the last couple of years to see if I have captured some of those distinctive characteristics. Unfortunately, I won’t have time for a couple of weeks.

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