Sunday, 24 February 2013 By: Jenny Vu

#19 Australia's Flesh Eating Sundew

Ok so, they don't really eat 'flesh' per say, their main prey is insects but they have been known to trap small animals sometimes. I'm talking about carnivorous plants. Especially native Australian ones. Did you know that 187 species of carnivourous plants are endemic (only found in) to Australia? I didn't!

I have just recently gone back to my local library to borrow some books when I spotted a book about Australian carnivorous plants. It had amazing photographs and great information. It reminded me of the Sundew (genus: Drosera) I spotted last year on my ecology field trip. They were the most amazing little things I had ever seen! I have always wanted to see other carnivorous plants other than the Venus fly trap but I had no idea they grew in Australia. As you could imagine, I was half in shock, half completely excited. My first native carnivorous plant. Gosh, I love Australia.

Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera spatulata) - Photo taken by Jennifer Vu (me)
Here are my photos of the very first species of Carnivorous plants I found. This is a species of Sundew, commonly known as the Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera spatulata).

Closeup of the Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera spatulata) - Photo taken b Jennifer Vu (me)
Species from the genus Drosera, commonly known as sundews, come in many different forms and sizes but one thing they all have in common is that the upper surface of their leaves have glands that secrete a sticky substance. There are two types of glands, stalked glands that capture the insects and sessile glands that secretes enzymes and absorbed the nutrients from the trapped insects. All Drosera produce flowers which range in different colours and shapes.

This particular species of Drosera I found close to Smith's Lake, in the north east of New South Wales, Australia. There are two trains of Drosera spatulata, each growing in different conditions. Drosera spatulata can be commonly found growing in a habitat subject to inundation and the leaves can grow to double their length when submerged.

Since there is is so many different species of carnivorous plants, I'm not sure which one is my favourtie. Do you have a favourite?

To read more about the Drosera genus, visit these websites:

Most of the information used in this blog post was found in the book: Australian Carnivorous Plants written by Greg Bourke and Richard Nunn.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new :)


Chris Hansen said...

Nice article and great photography. Keep up the excellent work, Jennifer!

Jenny Vu said...

Thanks for the encouragement Chris :)

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