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Archive for the ‘Droseras & Byblis’ Category

Drosera Paradoxa

 

First it was the drosera brumanii, then the spatulata.  … the binata, capillaris, filiformis, intermedia, tokendensis, indica, pygmy and capensis followed hot on their heels. But something was missing.

The paradoxa.

The more I saw the plant, the more I wanted it. Was that the paradox, I wondered.

The red rosettes of long thin tentacles and round pads of luscious sticky dew beckoned. I was lured – a willing victim.

When I finally bought one, it was a small specimen.

Happily, a friend who had more than a few and kindly gave me another. This grew quickly superceding the first in size.

And then the same friend taught me how to propagate the plant.

 

 

 

…………………………..

Here’s how:

1. Put some sphagnum peat moss in a clear plastic container. Moisten the peat moss.

2. Holding firmly to the paradoxa, pull a leaf or two towards the base, keeping the stipules intact.

3. Lay these flat on the moistened peat moss. Cover the stipule with a bit of moist peat.

4. Close the lid to maintain the humidity.

5. Check after a couple of weeks. There should be tiny paradoxa growing from the ends of the stems.

6. Remove the baby paradoxa if they are about ½ to ¾ cm tall.

7. Transfer the juvenile plants carefully using a pincer.

8. Plant into pots of long fibre spagnum or a mix of peat:sand:perlite (1:1:1) topped with LFS.

9. After a few weeks …

Ta da!! I see the makings of a paradoxa forest – well, ish!

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Sundews and byblis are mesmerizing to look at.

Each time I lift a pot of drosera or byblis up against the sunlight, I still marvel at the miracle it is.

The sundew and byblis are even more beautiful when they are in bloom.

Each miniature flower is a tiny gem in the softest pastel colour.

Right now, most of my byblis are flowering. Imagine the beauty of the flower multiplied a few times over.

Unfortunately, the delicate flowers last for less than a day, and I didn’t get to  see the blooms of my Drosera Lake Badgerup. When I realized what I had missed, I nearly kicked myself.

Fortunately though, I visited a forumer friend and caught his Lake Carbarup in bloom. These blooms reminded me of sakura flowers. Ed, these beauties are yours.

Next time, I’d better keep a close watch on my own.

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What’s for lunch … a housefly, a fruit fly, a mosquito or a spider?

It seems a little sadistic to be fascinated by what my droseras have trapped for their meal, but they seem to do this so well.

If I were an insect, I too would be drawn to the titillating drops of dew on the droseras. The poor things never had a chance.

I’m fascinated by the drosera capensis leaf that curls slowly around its hapless prey. It’s much like wrapping a sushi, but long before we figured out how to do so, Nature had already perfected the art.      

The paradoxa behaves likewise.

When its poor victim fails to tear itself from its gluey trap, the small paddle-like leaf closes tightly around it.

Each closed leaf resembles a tiny clenched fist.

Even the alicaea, the new kid on the block, had gotten into the thick of things and snared a light snack for itself.

Further down the rack, a housefly had fallen victim to the brumanii. When I saw the size of the fly, I wondered if the brumanii had bitten off more than it could chew. Let’s hope it doesn’t get indigestion.

Imagine sitting still, waiting for a meal to fall onto your lap. One has to be really patient. Much like the spider lying in wait for a fly ….

 

Care and cultivation: media is a mix of sphagnum peat moss, sand and perlite 1:1:1; sit pot in a waterdish; semi to full sun; shield from rain; propagate using seed or leaf cuttings.

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IMG_4988My friends were getting some drosera pygmy gemmae and asked me if I wanted a share. “Gemmae? What’s that?” I wondered aloud. This word wasn’t in my vocabulary then.

“A gemma isn’t a seed, but acts like one,” they explained to this new kid on the block. “It pops off from the crown of the pygmy and grows into a new plant.” That sounded alien – like some extra-terrestrial life form. I couldn’t wait.

Finally the gemmae arrived. I opened the pad of damp cotton wool and saw them for the first time. Good thing I was advised to get tweezers. These things were tinier than I had expected.

IMG_6147_dros pygmy lake badgerup_aAs advised I planted the gemmae in a pot with a mixed media of sphagnum peat moss, washed sand and perlite. I did this gingerly as I didn’t want to crush the miniscule gemmae.

I planted about 25 green gemmae plus the brown ones as well. I discarded the black gemmae. “Mist and cover the pot with clear plastic,” my friends advised.

I removed the cover on Day 3. After a week, I could see some progress and after 3 weeks, I could see the form of the drosera pygmies’ pink traps!

IMG_7443I counted them every day – first ten, then fifteen, twenty… I was amazed when the number surpassed 25, which means even the brown gemmae were viable.

Now I wonder if I should have planted the black ones as well!

 

The drosera pygmy Lake Badgerup grew into beauties. I now have thirty; each a masterpiece in miniature.

IMG_8245b

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Breathtaking byblis

There is nothing quite like a byblis liniflora against the sunlight.

Imagine fragile miniature Christmas trees covered with glistening dew drops … and top that with gorgeous amethyst blooms.

I could hardly wait for my byblis to grow and set seed so that I could see that beauty multiplied many times over. And so when it did, I collected the precious seeds and sowed them.

Then I waited and waited … but nothing happened.

I checked with my CP mentor. “Did you bleach the seeds?” he asked. “If you didn’t, you can say goodbye to them,” he continued matter of factly.

My heart sank. That was 30 seeds down the drain. “I need to bleach them?” I squeaked. I wasn’t quite sure I heard right. “… but they don’t have bleach in nature …”

Apparently the bleach does what bushfires would do to the seeds in the wild. And since I had no wish for a bushfire, I looked for my bleach.

When the byblis cooperated and gave me more seeds, I was prepared.

Feeling something like a mad scientist, I poured the bleach, diluted it and dropped the seeds into the corrosive solution. When they were ready, I planted them and hoped for the best.

… after 8 days, bingo!!! My byblis babies greeted me!

Cultivation:

Media: Use mixed media of 1 part washed sand and 1 part sphagnum peat moss OR 2 parts sand, 1 part sphagnum peat moss and 1 part perlite, topped with long fibre sphagnum moss

Sun: Part to full sun

 

Preparation of seeds for sowing:
1. Dilute 1 part bleach in 10 parts water.
2. Soak the seeds in the diluted bleach solution.
3. Strain the seeds as soon as the black seeds turn off-white. This takes between 30 min to a couple of hours.
4. Sow as per normal.

Germination period: Approx 6 days

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Baby brumanii

The five brumanii I carried back from Singapore quickly dwindled to three. At one point even the three appeared to give up on this CP newbie. I couldn’t believe they were shrinking in size after all my pampering!

I shared my despair with a forumer who laughed at my folly. “What?!! You watered them with water from your fish tank?” He asked why I didn’t post it on the forum. Whew, thank goodness I didn’t. I would have heard bellows of laughter and/or groans from across the causeway.

Anyway, I quickly righted that wrong and they bounced back in vigour.  Before long, the kiasu-syndrome reared its head. I needed to get the plants to set seed before they expired.

I knew blooming would take its toll on the plants so I allowed just one of them to flower. Thankfully, the brumanii rewarded me with lots of seeds which I promptly sowed. And the result was more than a hundred seedlings which I had to find homes for. Here are a few of the cute babes …

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