I’m not sure why this sundew isn’t more common in collections; it’s literally named for its spectacular ability to proliferate.
Also known as “The Trailing Sundew”, Drosera prolifera is a perennial sundew that grows in a very small distribution near the summit of Thornton Peak in Queensland, Australia. Along with Drosera adelaeand Drosera schizandra, it is one of the “Three Sisters from Queensland” as coined by Peter D’Amato in The Savage Garden.
Drosera prolifera grows in a rosette. Its leaves look like those wooden paddles you see moving pizzas in and out of woodfire ovens, only if the paddles were a couple inches long and the round part that holds the pizza were covered in little hairs producing gobs of insect-ensnaring gluey dew at their tips. These leaves can fold together like a sick, sticky sandwich when prey is captured.
Unique biology of Drosera prolifera
Drosera prolifera sends out winding little flower stems that scramble around and will produce plantlets that will grow using the flower stem as a lifeline, send down roots, and soon become their own individual plants – thus the name. There are actual flowers, too, similar to Drosera adelae‘s, that are like little purple stars but the petals are much more rounded than D. adelae’s. These can set seed when pollinated, producing even more plants, as well.
Preferred growing conditions
Based on the author’s experiences, Drosera prolifera is arguably more difficult to grow than its sister, Drosera adelae, but easier than its other sister, Drosera schizandra. It has grown well sitting in 1/2″ of water under bright lights with ambient humidity being around 40-50. It doesn’t seem particularly picky about potting media as it has sent out scrambling flower stems and produced plantlets in several adjacent pots, the contents of which have ranged from almost pure peat to live sphagnum moss. Lower light should produce its classic green coloration. Higher humidity shouldn’t be problematic, either.
You'll fall in love with the heart-leafed sundew, Drosera schizandra! That is, if you can figure out how to keep it happy... It is a beautiful and unusual specimen, and one of the few carnivorous plants that grows on the rainforest floor!
I'm not sure why this sundew isn't more common in collections; it's literally named for its spectacular ability to proliferate. Along with Drosera adelae and Drosera schizandra, it is one of the “Three Sisters from Queensland” as coined by Peter D'Amato in The Savage Garden.
I've heard Drosera filiformis referred to as nature's anti-aircraft gun for its ability to snipe flying insects out of the air. It's more commonly called the thread-leaved sundew due to its slender, filamentous leaves that reach towards the sky in an effort to tempt low-altitude insects into taking a detour to Sticky Town.
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A monster of a forked sundew, D. binata dichotoma 'Giant' generates forked sundew leaves up to two feet long with four to twelve forks. Since individual leaves fan out from the central growth point, you can end up with 4 foot sundews!
Cape Sundews hail from South Africa, and are some of the heartiest Drosera around. They're easy to grow, producing bountiful flowers atop long flower stalks and thousands of seeds - often becoming weeds growing amongst your other carnivores.