SUNDEW Drosophyllum lusitanicum
Drosophyllum lusitanicum is a carnivorous plant species of the family. In the past, it was classified as Drosera. But in Drosophyllum, the leaf runs from the outside to the inside, which is not the case of any species of Drosera. In addition, the natural environment of Drosophyllum is distinctly different from that of sundews.
Plants are found on the Atlantic coast of the Mediterranean regions from southern Portugal to southwestern Spain, via Gibraltar. Plants are also found in northern Morocco . It grows on a poor, and rather dry environment. The stony moors, the undergrowth of oaks are its natural environment.
This bushy plant has filiform leaves, very fine. Each leaf is covered with pedicellar glands producing glue, and glands sessile on the surface, for digestion. In cross section, the leaf is triangular.
The flowers are pentameric (composed of 5 petals, 5 sepals, 5 to 10 stamens and a pistil). They are yellow sulfur, and most often solitary. The flower once fertilized, it forms a capsule containing a dozen black seeds, the shape of a grape seed. Note that Drosophyllum is one of the rare carnivorous plants where the trap extends to the sepals of the flower: even the latter is carnivorous.
Prey is attracted by two factors: olfactory (the plant emits a smell of honey), and optics (ultraviolet rays). Once glued, a prey then activates the production of enzymes (protease, esterase, phosphatase, peroxidase).
Digestion in this plant is so effective that a single fly can be digested in just 24 hours!
One report suggests that leaves are sometimes torn off, then hung in the houses. It would thus play the role of trapping flies naturally.
In comparison to Sundew, Drosophyllum seeds are larger, about 2-3mm, and are teardrop shaped. Very limited supply.
Seeds per pack: 2
Germination: Sprinkle the seeds on top of the growing medium. Do not cover them. Use a mixture of 30% sand and 70% peat moss. Cover the container with plastic to retain moisture. Place the container in very bright light at room temperature. Once the small plants begin to grow, slowly open the plastic a little each day. Use rain water or bottled water (use a spritz bottle while plants are small) to regularly water plants. Generally seeds germinate anywhere from 1 to 3 months, but some stragglers can take up to a year.
Photo credit: cjsofy.com