SUNDEW Drosera venusta
Drosera venusta is a subtropical species endemic to South Africa. Color ranges from deep-red to green.
Drosera, commonly known as the sundews, is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 194 species. These members of the family Droseraceae lure, capture, and digest insects using stalked mucilaginous glands covering their leaf surfaces. The insects are used to supplement the poor mineral nutrition of the soil in which the plants grow. Various species, which vary greatly in size and form, are native to every continent except Antarctica.
The plant name (Sundew) refers to the glistening drops of mucilage at the tip of each tentacle that resemble drops of morning dew.
Sundews are generally perennial herbaceous plants, forming prostrate or upright rosettes between 1 and 100 cm (0.39 and 39.37 in) in height, depending on the species. Climbing species form scrambling stems which can reach much longer lengths. Sundews have been shown to be able to achieve a lifespan of 50 years. The genus is specialized for nutrient uptake through its carnivorous behavior.
The genus can be divided into several habits, or growth forms. Temperate sundews form a tight cluster of unfurled leaves called a hibernaculum in a winter dormancy period. All of the North American and European species belong to this group.
Sundews are characterised by the glandular tentacles, topped with sticky secretions, that cover their laminae. The trapping and digestion mechanism usually employs two types of glands: stalked glands that secrete sweet mucilage to attract and ensnare insects and enzymes to digest them, and sessile glands that absorb the resulting nutrient soup. Small prey, mainly consisting of insects, are attracted by the sweet secretions of the peduncular glands. Upon touching these, the prey become entrapped by sticky mucilage which prevents their progress or escape. Eventually, the prey either succumb to death through exhaustion or through asphyxiation as the mucilage envelops them and clogs their spiracles. Death usually occurs within 15 minutes. The plant meanwhile secretes esterase, peroxidase, phosphatase and protease enzymes. These enzymes dissolve the insect and free the nutrients contained within it. This nutrient mixture is then absorbed through the leaf surfaces to be used by the rest of the plant.
All species of sundew are able to move their tentacles in response to contact with edible prey! The tentacles are extremely sensitive and will bend toward the center of the leaf to bring the insect into contact with as many stalked glands as possible. According to Charles Darwin, the contact of the legs of a small gnat with a single tentacle is enough to induce this response. In addition to tentacle movement, some species are able to bend their laminae to various degrees to maximize contact with the prey.
The flowers of sundews, as with nearly all carnivorous plants, are held far above the leaves by a long stem. This physical isolation of the flower from the traps is commonly thought to be an adaptation meant to avoid trapping potent
ial pollinators. The mostly unforked inflorescences are spikes, whose flowers open one at a time and usually only remain open for a short period. Flowers open in response to light intensity (often opening only in direct sunlight), and the entire inflorescence is also helitropic, moving in response to the sun's position in the sky.
Note: These seeds are extremely tiny! It's just how they naturally are. Reading glasses are recommended to aid with seeing them, even for those who don't normally require glasses to read. The seeds are shipped in either a wax envelope, or folder within a small paper. Open carefully, and sprinkle onto the growing medium. Do not bury the seeds. Germination information is below.
Seeds per pack: 5
Germination: Sprinkle the tiny 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, but do not leave them standing on water. Generally seeds germinate anywhere from 1 to 3 months, but some stragglers can take up to a year.