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Sundew identification

Hi everyone

I had a little sundew pop up in my one pot, at first I thought it was D. capensis as the specific pot in question has got D. capensis poping up everywhere, but as the plant got a bit older it started looking like something else. I am not 100% sure what though.

Here is a photo, the plant is still very small so I don't think correct identification is possible yet.

Am I correct when saying this does not look like D. capensis?

This is a D. capensis
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You're right, that definitely isn't D. capensis. Looks more like D. natalensis or D. venusta to me.
I am assuming you are referring to the small rosette between the D. capensis leaf and the D. burmannii plant, in your first pic.

If that is the plant in question. I would definitely say that it is probably not a D. capensis. Which species of rosette forming Drosera, it is, for me, would need to have it mature and produce flowers. It is easiest to correctly identify species when you have sufficient information (including a flower).
You're right, that definitely isn't D. capensis. Looks more like D. natalensis or D. venusta to me.

All the rosetted Sundews look the same to me, I have no idea how you can tell them apart :-))
Sashoke, I have heard that same statement from many people, over the years and decades that I've been involved with these and other plants. It is definitely interesting to know that there can even be such subtle differences between we humans, as there are between these different plant species.

I think that most of us can develop an "eye" for this type of thing. But I have met some, that may not even be able to do that.

Saying all that, there are often subtle differences in Drosera leaves, even among their very young seedlings. Drosera binata seedlings initially form a basic Drosera shape, but soon begin forming branching leaves, while Drosera capensis, does the same, but then forms more and more elongated leaves. Though, for me, Drosera burmannii, Drosera sessilifolia, and Drosera glanduligera, are remarkably similar in appearance, for rosette forming Drosera.
When I started growing sundews the rosetted species mostly looked the same to me, also. But after a bit of association you start to see differences between species like the striations on D. slackii petioles or the gradual elongation of the leaves and coverage of tentacles in D. aliciae. On the other hand, I still can't definitely tell the difference between D. natalensis and D. spatulata though I've grown both for years! :)
I have a few D. venusta plantlets which I propagated from leaf cuttings, but they seem different from the rosette in my first photo. Unless I am mistaken?

D. venusta propagates super easy from leaf cuttings.. wow :0o:
Here is a photo of two of my D. venusta plantlets.


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D. venusta is readily identified by looking at the plant in profile and noting the 30° and 60° leaf growth pattern that Debbert documents in his description and drawings of this species.

Photographs from directly overhead are misleading because the medium is only two dimensional. Your average "ID this Sundew" photos alos typically lack the fine details such as stipules and trichomes on both sides of the leaves which help in identifying a species.

No doubt someone will suggest D. tokaiensis.

I say chalk it up to D. rotundastickya or D. spatuhaha for the time being.
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Hopefully your little plantlets will soon mature to resemble these ->


Perhaps if you could stimulate your mystery plants growth, with some tiny droplets of very dilute fertilizer solution, applied directly to its trap blades, weekly, then it might mature more rapidly. It is a technique that has worked for me, many times. I use "Jack's Classic All Purpose 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food", just a tiny pinch (about the amount that will cover the end of a pencil eraser), dissolved in a quart of distilled/R.O. purified water. If you have a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter, it should read between 60 - 80 ppm. A toothpick is an easy way to get the tiny droplets, just where you want them, on the leaf traps, not in the media. If the fertilizer is the correct strength, the traps should respond as if to prey.
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I can only hope my Venusta grow up to resemble those. They look amazing.

I will have a look for "Jack's Classic All Purpose 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food" not sure if we will have that here in South Africa though. Would any "All Purpose 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food" work or should it be the "Jacks" brand?

Another question, should the leaf be dewy when applying the 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food? I know with my normal feeding, either betta fish pellets or ground up bloodworms mixed with RO water the leaves should be dewy.
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I'm sure the brand isn't critical, just the dilution. And I'm sure leaves with a little dew would work best, but I believe any live leaves would suffice. The fertilizer should soon inspire more leaves to be produced. Once larger leaves are being produced, more typical feeding should be suitable. I use a little, most all the time, but after the plants are vigorously growing larger, I often switch to using dried, fresh insects, ground to a powder.
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Couldn't help it had to show off my d.venusta interesting article NAN
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Wow Corky, your plants look very healthy! what kind of conditions are you growing them in?
What are your Min and Max temps?

Thanks for the link, very good read.
See Hanrahan, Bob (1986) Simplistic CP Fertilization Facts. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 15(2):53

I had a look in my shed and found some water soluble fertilizer "for young developing plants and seedlings" it's a 19:8:16
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I put my venusta (and most south African, south American and Asiatic drosera) through temps as cold as 8-10C on winter nights to as hot as 40-42C days, but averages are winters of 10-12C nights, days of the high 20's and summer is 23-27C nights and days of 30-35C.

Humidity is constantly above 70%, but with very good airflow and they grow with various byblis.

Natalensis, capensis, binata, a few petiolaris complex, burmannii, spathulata, adelae and the indica complex are all happy in the same temps but humidity as low as 30-40% by day and 50-60% at night for the year (the wet season being an exception).

So the sub-tropical/tropical drosera are pretty forgiving once they are acclimated to your conditions, and many temperate/sub-tropical (such as binata and filiformis) will also take more than you would think.

You also shouldn't have to wait long for a flower if they are well grown, for me most seed grown drosera flower within a year of germination (expecially allicea, spatulata's and any annuals, burmannii and indica after a few months flower)

Fish food is also a great asset to speed growth, for seedlings betta fish food pellets, for fighter fish (hence betta) and are small granules, then for larger gold fish pellets, but you need air flow or they mould, they are great if you have more plants that time to catch insects.

Alternatively if your in a rural setting rotting fruit can be left out, I sometimes do this in my greenhouse, it attracts hoards of fruit fly, this is mostly for neps and pings but drosera catch them to.