BYBLIS GIGANTEA, RAINBOW PLANT
Byblis is a small genus of carnivorous plants, sometimes termed the rainbow plants for the attractive appearance of their mucilage-covered leaves in bright sunshine.
Byblis species look very similar to Drosera and Drosophyllum, but are distinguished by their flowers, with five curved stamens off to one side of the pistil. These genera are in fact not closely related.
All species of the genus form upright growth supported by a fibrous root system.
The surface of the leaves is densely studded with glandular hairs which secrete a mucilaginous substance from their tip. These serve to attract small insects, which upon touching the sticky secretions are ensnared. Unless they are strong enough to escape, the insect prey either die of exhaustion or asphyxiate as the mucilage envelops them. Unlike the sundews, however, Byblis can move neither their tentacles nor the leaves themselves to aid trapping or digestion. As a result, they are grouped among the "passive flypaper traps" along with Pinguicula, Drosophyllum, Roridula, Stylidium and Triphyophyllum peltatum.
Along with the stalked mucilaginous glands, the leaves are also equipped with sessile glands, which assumedly are responsible for the secretion of the digestive juices. Sessile glands are five to ten times as numerous as the stalked glands.
The five-petaled flowers are generally purple to pale violet, though B. gigantea und B. filifolia can sometimes produce white flowers. The flowers of Byblis start to bloom in early spring and last until late summer.
Like many carnivorous plants, Byblis species usually grow in bogs and marshes. They generally prefer seasonally wet sandy soil in partial or direct sunlight with temperatures between ~ 5-40 °C (40-105 °F).
As native plants of Australia, all Byblis species are protected. Due to the sensitivity of the plant, interest in the genus has been restricted to a small portion of the carnivorous plant hobbyist community. The majority of plant material sold today is produced in cultivation. Most species must be grown from seed.
The West Australian species B. gigantea und B. lamellata are being threatened by habitat destruction for urban sprawl from cities such as Perth. Particularly damaging is the draining of wet habitats to produce arable land. B. gigantea is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species and is considered critically endangered.
Seeds per pack: 3
Germination: These seeds germinate best using a mixture of 50% peat and 50% perlite or sand. Soak the mixture for 1 hour, then gently squeeze out excess water, but allow some moisture to remain (not dripping). Place the moss in a container.
These seeds benefit from a 24 hour soak with 10 PPM of gibberellic acid (a plant hormone). After the treatment, sprinkle the seeds on top of the growing mix, and cover the container with plastic to retain moisture while the seeds germinate. Place the container in very bright light, at 15-30C, 60-85F. Once the small plants begin to grow, slowly open the plastic a little each day. Use rain water or distilled water (use a spritz bottle while plants are small) to regularly water plants, but do not leave them standing on water. Plants thrive with at least 8-10 hours of direct light, be it artificial or natural. Seeds germinate anywhere from 2-4 months, with a few seeds taking longer. Patience is need, though they are well worth the wait! These seeds can also be grown without the gibberellic acid treatment, though they can take up to a year to germinate without it.