Friday, July 31, 2009

Hail to the King, Baby

Drosera regia in cultivation in Connecticut, June 2009. Leaves about 40 cm (16 inches) long.

Drosera regia, the King Sundew, is one of the giants among carnivorous plants, apparently growing close to a meter tall in some situations. Its natural range is a small patch of mountainous terrain north of Cape Town, South Africa, and it occupies an evolutionarily isolated branch of the sundew family tree, being the only surviving representative of a very early-diverging lineage. King Sundews are uncommon in cultivation, having a reputation for being slow-growing and temperamental. These plants at the University of Connecticut were started from seed collected in Bainskloof, South Africa, and are flowering for the first time at age 4.

Drosera regia flower.

I had several individual King Sundews flowering at the same time, so I cross-pollinated them. Six weeks later, the first seed capsules have started to ripen, and it looks like pollination was successful. Even seeds are big in D. regia: about the size of poppyseed, which is gigantic by Drosera standards.

Drosera regia, ripe capsule and seeds (pencil tip for scale).


Julie said...

How cool that you have one of these right there!!! Lucky you!!!
Thanks for showing and telling about it!!!

Matt said...

You're welcome, Julie!