Australian trip

From: R. E. Jones (
Date: Sat Dec 04 1999 - 08:15:35 PST

Date: Sat, 4 Dec 1999 16:15:35 -0000
From: "R. E. Jones" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg4061$foo@default>
Subject: Australian trip

Dear All,

Earlier in the year I went to Australia, Here is an account of part of my
travels, the CP bits anyway. Is that OK, Fernando.


 In September/October of this year we went on a trip to Western Australia,
ostensibly to see the birds but I also kept a lookout for carnivorous
plants. The trip went from Two Peoples Bay in the south to the Mitchell
Plateau in the Kimberly at the Top End of Oz with various stops in between.

We set of from Perth down the Albany Highway with one eye on the birds and
the other looking for wet patches. Somewhere along there I remember
seeing, long before I was really interested in CP\222s, a long scrambling
yellow flowered Drosera . We turned off for the Dryandra State Forest and
stopped in the woodland. I got out of the vehicle in birding mode but
while everyone else was looking at Weebills suddenly realized that I was
surrounded by sundews. There was not a damp patch around and yet there
were Drosera glanduligera in their hundreds, and D. menziesii ssp. menziesii
with large pinky-red flowers.

D. glanduligera was everywhere, its small orange flowers were out but
although I searched I could not find any in seed. D. menziesii was fabulous,
its flowers big and showy and with its upright habit it put British Droseras
to shame. Later I also found a buttercup yellow drosera, D. subhirtella
ssp. subhirtella or neesii ssp. neesii possibly? What was an eye opener,
for me at any rate, was the fact that they were not bog plants. They were
growing in open woodland in a soil that was damp but no more than that.

Before we left the Dryandera Forest there was one last Drosera to be seen.
It was a tuberous Drosera, possibly a D. bulbosa ssp. bulbosa. It had thin
obovate leaves and the seed pods, (which were unripe alas) were buried
beneath the leaves.

A couple of days later we were at the Two Peoples Bay Reserve. I had seen
a few flat rosetted sundews on the coast but was too interested in the birds
to look at them properly. Later as we were hunting for Southern Emu-wren
across one of the heaths we suddenly realised that under foot were hundreds,
no thousands, of rosetted sundews. These were D. erythrorhiza ssp.
erythrorhiza and they were coming to the end of the season because a lot of
them were in the process of dying back. Despite that, there was not a
single flower or seed head to be seen. I must have looked at thousands and
not one was in flower. Lowrie says in his book that it needs a summer
bushfire to stimulate them into flower. Every now and again the was a much
larger rosette with more leaves but whether this was an older plant or a
different species I could not say. These grew in sandy soil and again no
trace of water could be seen. They were under the taller heath vegetation
which grew everywhere.

Later that day we were in for a very frustrating treat. We heard the Noisy
Scrub-bird. But see it. Anyone who knows this bird knows that a group
of people can surround an individual in a bush, a few feet away, hear it
singing very loudly and not see it. It is impossible to see. While
everybody was talking about how next time we must bring a strimmer as an
essential item of birding kit and some of us were tearing our hair out in
frustration I noticed a Drosera scrambling about in the undergrowth. It
was probably a D. pallida. It was at least a meter long and had white
flowers. The typical habit was scrambling amongst and over other plants to
which it clung. Later on I saw it, or something like it, at Northcliffe
and I was told that there was the Albany Pitcher Plant on the property but
alas birding came first and I never saw it.

To be concluded......

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