Drosera erythorrhiza ssp supernova VERY ROUGH DRAFT 1

From: RICHARD DAVION (davion@camtech.net.au)
Date: Mon Aug 16 1999 - 01:03:45 PDT

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 17:33:45 +0930
From: "RICHARD DAVION" <davion@camtech.net.au>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2951$foo@default>
Subject: Drosera erythorrhiza ssp supernova VERY ROUGH DRAFT 1

I took Fern's call for Rosetted Tuberous Drosera with some interest
last night. You see I use to live on the banks of Bannister Creek
about 8ks outside Perth in the suburb that use to be called
Parkwood. On weekend mornings, school afternoons and school
holidays I use to jump over the back fence, cross over the creek
and climb up the sand dune to a patch of scrub that will always
remain dear to my heart. In this triangular patch of land
boundried by two roads use to grow a number of species of Drosera -
stricticaulis, glanduligera, neesii, a subspecies of nitidula I
haven't been able to name using Lowrie II and a large rosette
sundew that was related to erythorrhiza but which I could never key
out using Rica Erickson's since the flower stalk was different to
all the related rosetted on the colour plate painted by Rica which
I'm sure all the devotees are very familiar with. The first
inkl'ling of is true nature came with the publication of Lowrie I
in 1986. I can definately say that it was/is related to
erythorriza ssp magna however it was much larger and had a
parculiar way of sitting in the sand like an "Ant-Lion's" nest does
so that it was funnelled or scalloped into the sand. The biggest
plants were funnily enough found under a mat of decomposing
Eucalypt leaves and in some seasons never saw the light of day and
were quite etiolated when patches of the mat were lifted up. The
school holidays used to coincide with the

I grew up in WA so I thought a little spiel about my experiences
might enlighten you.

I use to jump over the back of my parents place at 7.30AM, cross
Bannister Creek, and up the sand hill. The light from 8AM to
8.30AM was always impressive and if
you've ever noticed from photos that the morning light is
neverquite the same as the evening light and you can in this way
always tell when a photo was taken.

This triangular piece of natural bushland contained Drosera
erythorriza ssp magna although I still believe that it was slightly
different ie a subform of magna. Stricticaulis, macrantha ssp
macrantha. and an unknown 'nitidula something'-pygmy that Aluminium
hasn't got his smegging hands on yet and down the road at
Cannington Swamp you had gigantea - these were like little
Christmas trees and they waggle when you twang them and are as
tough as old boots ie you can stub you toe in you wellies if you
happen to accidentally kick against the base of one of them. The
size and colour of these noone here in SA has been able to
match(they don't give them enough light(& nutrients?) - grow them
in deep enough pots [I never in 5 years saw a tuber - just too
deep; they say the tuber rests on the horizon between the sand and
clay interface that's down between 1.5-2 metres! it must actually
start growing immediately the first rains come to be out in May and
it has such a long growing season - well I surpose {I have a
photograph of them just going into dormancy in December 1997} it
has to build up the energy reserves for the tuber(s)

They have a bluish-green hue to them which gets progressively bluer
as the stem approaches the ground and you meet the red almost
purplish stipules that are really off set by the bluish-green stem
(it also has a kind of whitish wax on the stem that gives it a
sheen and makes the green look a bit sickly). The traps are an
odd yellowish colour and when I first stubbled into one of these
plants I was befuddled - almost baffled - I kept looking at this
'tree" and seeing the traps thinking logically 'yes it must be a
Drosera because it has the shield shape traps but why are they
stuck on the ends of these branches? It took me about twenty
minute to rummage through my second edition Rica Erickson (brand
new back then) to match up figure 1 on page 45 which took a bit of
doing I might add since that figure is not in colour and doesn't do
the plant justice! I believe that Drosera gigantea is probably a
hyperaccumulator of Nickel and that the blue-green hue is probably
due to the presence of Nickel (II) citrate as in comparison with
Sebertia acuminata a Serpentine endemic of New Caledonia.

U. menziesii, Polypompolyx(both species) as it was called then also
grew there but nearer to the golf course. U. menziesii always
seemed to occupy little clumps of a sort or cushiony moss as seen
in the photos in Lowrie III. I suspect that this moss is similar to
that of Hypnum which is an indicator of high nutrient levels in

Drosera glanduligera use to grow on the side of the road facing the
swamp in the clay zone of the road grading but not on the other
next to the Cow paddock. There were two burnt out bombs of cars
there back in the seventies - well rusted even then and as you
walked out towards them the damp ground would progressively become
wetter and wetter until it was saturated and you were slushing in
water. I had my Mother's wellies on and never could get out to the
cars - the closest I got were a pair of wellies full of water and
it was always so "chilling". As you waded out Drosera pymaea
would progressively become inundated until it was visibly growing
underwater about 1.5-2 inches.

Drosera menziesii and neesii grew in the mid zone between the road
and the cars and in amongst them were patches of two species of
Stylidium - very beautiful ones indeed and fun to trigger.

I have a half slide of an unknown Drosera about the size of the
five cent piece in the same half of the slide. There were only
ever 5-6 plants ever seen but I suspect, now, in hindsight, that
it belonged to the Tuberstylis-Lowrii group of plants

Unfortunately I never got to see Byblis gigantea - James Fielder
sent me a photograph of it growing next to one of the Stobey-poles
on the main road leading into the swamp five years (83) after I had
left WA for poxy ol' SA! But then my parents wouldn't have stopped
and I never would have thought to look in the grassy embankment by
the side of the road! James had terrible trouble trying to find the
place - for his third attempt I sent him two slide of the place and
he only found it by matching up the Eucalypt trees in the slide
next to the Golf course - their major limbs hadn't changed in five
years but according to James everything else had become so over
grown and was in need of a good ol' refreshing bushfire.

Anyway I hope this helps.

I'm off on a trip to Penola pretty soon to try and find
Utricularia uniflora in the Mary Mc Killop Conservation Park (ref:
Lowrie III) and the other Conservation Parks in the vercinity.
Wish me luck. I just hope that I find something other than the
"Weed of the Southern Clay States" - Drosera whittakerii. I did
find the Kiwi Forms last year that's due for publication in the
September issue of Flytrap News but they're just forms - there's
nothing like finding a completely new species in your own back
yard! There should be more of the Queensland Drosera complex on
similar Serpentine Mounts like Mt Bartle Frere and Granite / Basalt
outcrops running parallel to the coast. You'll just have to grab a
good Geo map, four wheeled drive and get out there and look - but
our Society just doesn't seem interested in field trips - I think
they're scared of the rain; since they are always going out in
September when the growing season it practically over and
everything is going dormant! I can't figure them out

Oh one thing I forgot to mention up above is that in the usual
quartz sand Drosera erythorrhiza ssp magna use to sit in the sand
like an 'ant-lion's' nest. Aluminium's photos don't quite capture
this - actually his photos never seem to be typical so I don't know
if he's trying to hide habitat sites or not showing you how big the
plants really grow in the wild so he can fob you off with second
rate tubers or what's going on. My friend August Schlaaf has
found colonies of Cephalotus growing 200 Kilometers further inland
than has been previously known! and I wouldn't be surprised if it
wasn't found round the Cape le Grand area either.

Anyway that's about it I'm exhausted now - I think I'll relax with
a cuppa and put this thing together for you.


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