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Unusual aliciae location form? The value of growing Drosera under lower light

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Ladies and laddies and everyone

I'd like to discuss a bit of a cultivator's enigma: an unexpected morph of a fairly common plant, D. aliciae, dramatically and unexpectedly exhibiting low-light foliage. This caused a fair amount of confusion on Facebook, where growers speculated for a time that it was not in fact D. aliciae at all, but D. cuneifolia! I think this brings forth two points.

Firstly, we might be giving our sundews too much light. Many of us focus exclusively on irradiating our plants into tiny jewels covered in lush drops of dew and awash with a beautiful palette of oranges, reds, yellows, and the coveted deep maroon. But in our obsession over color and dewiness we forget that in nature these plants experience a wide range of sun exposures. Sometimes in lower light intensity, plants take on remarkable and unexpected designs. They may expand, broaden their leaves, even change their growth patterns, and these changes remain hidden in the static environment of a light setup. There, even the most careful grower can limit, unintentionally, the variable growth that can come out of even one plant. Even if it does mean sacrificing their fantastic traits of color to shape, compact little gems can become grand, almost "architectural" marvels, and express themselves in ways many of us forget is possible.

Second, these multiple expressions of growth are often telling of the specific taxonomy of the plant. Originally, as seen in the first link, this plant was more or less a generic D. aliciae, without location data or any outstanding characteristics. But in the second link the nature of the plant comes out under much weaker light. It has transformed from a dewey mass into a wide platter of cuneate leaves. This has led some to speculate on its taxonomy: is it merely D. aliciae from Silvermine, D. cuneifolia, or even a hybrid between the two?

Truthfully, either plant (they are the same one photographed under different conditions, 6 months apart) is desirable for different reasons, but as far as celebrity plants go the first has the cultivator's precedence in the hobbyist's world these days, if only by virtue of the fashionable status extremely colorful plants hold above greener, broader ones. Just one look at SundewGrowGuides makes one salivate over the tasteful potentials that high light intensity offers.

Flickr Summer, outdoors, Portland Oregon.
Flickr Winter, indoors, basement, temps in the 60s, 70s, significant temp drops at night into high 50s. Over a foot away from t-5 high output florescent bulbs.

Please comment and let me know what you think about this! And the jury is still out: is it actually D. aliciae?
 
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I'm certainly no expert on sundew taxonomy but I'd be very interested to follow the discussion.

Also a tip for Flickr: Use the share link (right-pointing arrow on the bottom right) and select the BBCode option. Choose a resolution (I like 800 pixels wide for forums) and just copy that directly into your post.
 

bluemax

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In my eye D. aliciae does look different than what you are growing. This is my plant, grown from seed I got from the ICPS seedbank.

PB055777.jpg


P1147934%20-%20Copy.jpg


I notice a subtle widening of the leaf towards it's end in your plant as well as tentacles that go almost all the way to the base. My plant shows more bare petiole and a more narrow tip. I also took a look at the CP Photofinder photos for D. cuneifolia (Drosera cuneifolia photos) and these photos seem to match your plant more clearly, at least to my eye. Whatever it is - a very nice plant.

I think your comments, raycer491, regarding morphological differences in a given plant grown in varying light intensities are well made. I have seen some species that become almost unrecognizable with just their light levels altered.
 
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This is an awesome resource, and I can see why some growers suspected that it was related to the silvermine form. My plant and the plants in Dietz's album are practically identical!
 
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The plants I grow as cuneifolia have quite large flowers about 35mm and act kind of opposite to yours in that in lower light leaves are longer and thinner and in higher light are broader and more wedge shaped , crazy difference you got
 
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I wonder if any taxonomists have closely examined the Silvermine population that's been identified as D. aliciae. It has been suggested that this population may be of hybrid origin (D. aliciae x cuneifolia) and I suppose could even warrant its own species status.
 

bluemax

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As corky implies, it would be interesting to see the flower when a photo of it becomes available. Another possibility would be to compare the plant with the original species description for D. aliciae. Of course this might be in Latin and it might require a good plant morphology glossary.

The Christian Dietz photos are certainly fun to look through.
 

Not a Number

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Here is Hamet's original description from Journal de Botanique 1905 (19:114)

daliciae_060657000035708-page-003_zpsmn2ei3hd.jpg


Here is an OCR text, no corrections made (you expect me to do everything for you? :D)

Drosera Aliciae R. Hamet, sp. n. — Folia omnia radicalia
rosaceo-eaespitosa, cuneiformia, in petiolum brevissimum attenuata
lamina supra marginibusque glanduloso-ciliata, subtus glabra. Petio
lum marginibus supraque villosum, subtus glabrum. Stipulée trifidae
partitione média aliis latiore et apice 2-dentata. Scapus basi glaber
apice glanduloso-pubescens. Flores (4-6) racemosi. Pedicelli glandu
loso-pubescentes, basi bractea lineari, obtusa, apice dentata, gla?idu
loso-pubescente siipati. Calyx profunde 5-fïdus, partitionibus obtusis
cuneatis, externe glanduloso-pubesceniibus . Petala 5, obovata, obtusa
integerrima, glabra, fundo calycis inserta. Stamina 5, ibidem inserta
extrorsa, adnata, glabra, antheris bilocularibus, filamento complanato
connectivodilatato. Styli 3, bifidi , partitionibus irifidis. Ovarium unilo-
culare, polyspermum, glabrum. Capsula trivalvis. Semina ovata,alata.
Folia 15 mm. longa X ° mm. lata — Stipulai 6 mm.lg. X 2 mrn - ^- —
Scapus 12 mm. lg. — Pedicelli 4 mm. 1g. — Calyx 6 mm. lg. X 5 mm -
lt. — Petala 7 mm. lg. X 3 mm - lt- — Stamina 4 mm. lg. — Styli
4 mm lg. — Capsula 4 mm. lg. X 2 )5 mra< lt- — Semina 1 mm. lg. (2).

CLAVIS SPECIERUM SECTIONIS LASIOCEPHALjE

Planta bracteas gerens. Folia petiolo brevis-

simo (1,5 mm.), D. Alicise R. Hamet.

Planta bracteas non gerens. Folia petiolo lon-
gissimo (20 mm.).

4» Planta caulescens D. Banksii DC.

4» Planta acaulis.

^ Styli 3, bifidi, divisuris 2-fidis. Stigmata

filiformia D. fzitvaPlanch.

4 Styli 3, bifidi, divisuris 4-5-fidis. Stig-

mata dilatata D. pctio/arisDC.

1. Speciei imposui nomen Aliciae Rasse, quae nobis sectioni Lasiocephalae
studertdi consilium dédit.

2. Ces mesures sont les moyennes prises sur les trois échantillons que nous
possédons.

Obermeyer's Flora of South Africa vol 13 is pretty much the standard key used for South African Drosera

[Key to African Drosera] image #0075.gif

The more readily visible diagnostics between D. natalensis, D. cuneifolia and D. aliciae are the hairs (or lack of) on the undersides of the leaves and the shape of the stipules at the base of the leaves.

Here is the entry from Flora of South Africa (2003) Dr J.P. Roux

Range Common in the south-western Cape, extending to the eastern Cape. A marsh plant which is also found in damp peaty areas. Flowering December-January.
Information Small plants with tufted, compact rosettes and a few fairly thin, long roots. Leaves apetiolate; stipules ovate, 3-cleft, up to 5 mm long, the central lobe lanceolate, the outer linear-setaceous; the c. 30 leaves often redÂ*dish, similar in size, compactly arranged, the old leaves forming a thick mat below; lamina obcuneate to spathulate, up to 25 mm long and 7 mm broad near the obtuse to truncate apex, base cuneate, bearing both types of tentacles; lower surface appressed-pubescent. Inflorescence with the base of eth scape exserted horizontally from the leafs rosette, subsequently erect, 15-40 cm tall-firm, bearing 2-12 secund flowers; pedicel, up to 8 mm long. Calyx-lobes c. 5 mm long, broadly ovate, obtuse. Petals broadly oboÂ*vate-cuneate, c. 10 mm long, purple. Stamens with the filaments flattened and the connecÂ*tive dilated. Styles forked from the base, the branches shortly 2-3-fid and dilated at the stigmatic apex. Capsule ovoid; seeds fusiform, with the testa extended on both sides
 
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bluemax

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Hey! That's a nice chunk of 'net research. I like the look of the old, yellowed page. Interesting that D. aliciae was originally included in Section Lasiocephala along with the petiolaris sundews.
 
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I did have an inflorescence off this plant, and what a stalk it was. It was perhaps a foot tall, trichomous around the sepals, and began growing in (I believe) late August outside. It took weeks after a bloom for the plant to proceed to another bloom. The plant remained outside for weeks, slowly flowering, and after second frost I brought it indoors, where I pollinated the flowers by hand and crossed it with D. madagascariensis "Botswana".

The flowers were slightly pink, perhaps 1.5 cm in diameter; they didn't strike me as particularly large. At the time, the heritage of the plant was still unquestioned and it didn't show any differences from other aliciae, albeit a somewhat cuneate, dished lamina (see the first pic in the original post).

I harvested all the seed over a 2 month period and sold one or two packets of it to beginner collectors in the US. I have the rest of the seeds, and they all seem to strike readily so far. Pure and hybridized plants with D. madagascariensis have sprouted, and are currently under humidity covers for the next few months until they're large enough for transfer (and until I get more peat!).

After several months of feeding it it has expanded to nearly 3.5 inches in diameter (eyeballing it) and continues to get bigger.

I also gave the D. aliciae pollen to the same D. madagascariensis and retrieved seed from that, currently in my seed drawer.
 
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bluemax

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'Sounds like an interesting cross for the seeds. I, for one, would be interested in seeing what adult plants from these will look like.

This conversation makes me wonder when someone will take on a taxonomic shake-up of the S. African rosetted species and what will be the results. Perhaps sub-species names for what are now simply considered D. aliciae? I am under the opinion that the same might be done for D. cuneifolia.
 
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Not a Number

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'Sounds like an interesting cross for the seeds. I, for one, would be interested in seeing what adult plants from these will look like.

This conversation makes me wonder when someone will take on a taxonomic shake-up of the S. African rosetted species and what will be the results. Perhaps sub-species names for what are now simply considered D. aliciae? I am under the opinion that the same might be done for D. cuneifolia.

I believe something is in the works. I was expecting something around the end of summer - Septemberish last year but apparently delayed. I probably said more than I should :D
 
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I hear redfern is coming out with something. Eric Greene's death threw a wrench into the process of getting the South African taxa sorted out I bet. Was sad to only learn about him after he died.
 
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I wonder if perhaps a new taxonomic evaluation of these species will first be published in Stewart McPherson's upcoming Drosera books? I'll be quite curious to see if that's the case.
 
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I believe something is in the works. I was expecting something around the end of summer - Septemberish last year but apparently delayed. I probably said more than I should

Wow, I'm glad to hear that taxonomy for ZA and South African Drosera is getting a more in depth look. I hope they look into capensis and possibly resolve some subspecies or official variety names at least. I'd also be excited to see what natural hybrids are occurring and to finally resolve the aliciae "issue". Thanks for leaking that information Not a Number.
 
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my understanding is that the S. African carnivorous plants simply need a new group of dedicated experts to take on the whole mess.

anyway that's off topic, point being that this D. aliciae could use some taxonomic eval!
 
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