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Andreas Fleischmann

Drosophyllum in Andalusia

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¡Hola!

In May, I spent one week of holiday in Andalusia, Spain. As my holiday is usually spent on botanical excursions or hunting for CPs with fellow carnivorous plant enthusiasts, my girlfriend felt a little bit neglected lately and started complaining. Well, she cannot get the idea of what it’s like climbing up remote mountains in places with no tourist spots around at all (usually with barely any civilisation at all, haha), or walking through mud, dirt and bogs just to spend hours of laying flat on the ground in front of small plants which all look the same ;). Thus I never was able to convince her in joining me when hunting for CPs ... ;)

Therefore I had to spend some “real holiday” without CPs this time, and it was my girlfriend who suggested to travel to Andalusia. She thought this part of the world would be far too hot and too dry to host any carnivorous plants, hahaha! ;).

Indeed this time I did more sightseeing and relaxing and less plant hunting. However I managed to sneak into the bush for at least a few hours two times (when driving to Gibraltar and Ronda respectively), in order to find Drosophyllum in its natural habitat, as well as Pinguicula lusitanica, several orchids and parasitic plants. (the price for this CP-hunting time was high, as it did cost me an extensive dinner in an expensive Spanish restaurant and –even worse- a Salsa dancing course with my girl, which I still suffer from today ;);))

I visited several locations of Drosophyllum in southern Andalusia. The plants grew in very dry sandy soils over sandstone (acidic conditions) in heath lands (“macchia”), accompanied by various species of Erica (heather), Lavandula (lavender), Cistaceae (rockroses) and other sclerophyllous shrubs. The soil was dry as dust and hard like concrete on the surface with little moisture below during May already, but these sites are moist or wet seepages in winter and early spring. This type of vegetation on acidic soils is called wet “brezal” in Spain.

All sites are well drained, and the most vigorous plants grew on almost vertical South-facing sandstone cliffs.

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Several plants of Drosophyllum lusitanicum on S-facing cliff.

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Drosophyllum_01.jpg

Some of the plants had very old stems that were up to 2 cm in diameter at the base, and branched multiple times, resulting in plants up to 50 cm high with several growth points.

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I found several species of scarabaeid beetles that were regularly visiting the flowers of the Drosophyllum plants, and which were feeding on pollen and petals.

Fumana_spec.jpg

Interestingly, some Cistaceae which often grew together with Drosophyllum, namely Halimium lasianthum and several species of Fumana, had similar looking yellow flowers, which were visited by the same beetles, not discriminating between the flowers of Drosophyllum and the Cistaceae. See above the flower of a Fumana spec.

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Drosophyllum growing in “brezal” heath-land, accompanied by Erica multiflora and Lavandula stoechas.

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Close-up of the plant, illustrating the inverse circinate vernation of the leaves. Circinate vernation (i.e. leaves that are coiled in bud) are very rare in flowering plants (however quite common in fronds of ferns and fern-alikes). And inverse circination (i.e. leaves coiled outwards from the bud) is only known from Drosophyllum, its close relative Triphyophyllum (in both carnivorous and the non-carnivorous leaves!) and the non-related annual species of Byblis. Strange coincidence that they are all carnivorous, isn’t it?

Erica_multiflora.jpg

Erica multiflora, growing in the same dry sand soil as Drosophyllum.

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In the late afternoon sunlight, this dense stand of Drosophyllum was glistening impressively. The sweet, honey-like scent of this large colony could already be noticed from several metres distance.

Drosophyllum_03.jpg

Drosophyllum lusitanicum and Lavandula stoechas (note the purple flower-like bracts on top of the inflorescence)

All the best,

Andreas

Edited by Andreas Fleischmann

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Daniel O.    62

Hi Andreas,

wonderful plants especially the old ones, really impressive with these long and deviding stems.

What do you think, how old could be the biggest ones?

For me sadness i don´t have the possibility to grow Drosophyllum, during winter it would struggle to much under my conditions.

It must be really hard for your girlfriend, allways "CP´s" :D, but good for us. :smile:

Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Best regards,

Dani

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maurizio    34

Stunning plants... I recognize all the sites in your pictures I visited last may, too and also last year ... and I also recognize some of the plants :O)

Thanks Andreas

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MFS    3

Did you by any chance get to visit Pinguicula vallisnerifolia or P. mundi? Both in fantastic tourist spots!!!

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pandalf    6

Amazing photos, Andreas!

That site is always fantastic

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Fredders    19

Awesome field trip Andreas.

To see how these plants grow in the wild gives you a new insight of how to grow them in cultivation.

Cheers

Steve

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calek    0

Fricking awesoooome!

I wish there were plants in the wild around where I lived..or I had the cash to go searching for them. XD

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wadave    0

Thanks for that awesome report Andreas,

It's always a pleasure to get to see how the various plants grow in their natural habitat.

In one of the shots that shows the yellowish white clay of the soil it reminded me very much of the kinds of soils found in the hills of South Australia where I grew up. I wonder if these plants would do just as well is South Australias hot dry climate?

regards,

Dave.

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jimscott    42

It looks desert-like.

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Davion    40

I'd, ... 'Have'-to-Agree with-You about 'How'-AUSTRALIAN ... The-Whole Landscape 'Looks' or-Appears ... though I-Think The Main-Question on Everybody's-Minds IS: "Did Your-Girlfriend 'PASS' The Swamp-Hunting 'TEST' ... and Will-She Eventually Become Your Wife"!!!??? >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<

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