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CP outing to SW Tasmania


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Well, making the best use of the good weather and hoping the recent warmth had got things moving again, Spot Cullen and I had a nice trip down along the Shores of Lake Pedder, in southwestern Tasmania.

First stop was Ted's Beach, where we found a few Utricularia only just starting to send up flower scapes (U. dichotoma, U. monanthos and U. uniflora), so the exact identity of each was hard to establish. On roadside seeps along this area are also found aquatic U. dichotoma, growing in floating algae on the surface of the water, and with huge traps 4-5mm across. Alas they were not in flower so no photographs.

Also on Ted's Beach, Drosera pygmaea were just starting to get going after the winter:


This one was (just) starting to unfurl its flower scape (sorry, slightly out of focus):


The ubiquitous D. auriculata was found growing throughout, in almost any type of habitat from roadside banks, to mossy seeps, to forest floor:


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After leaving Ted's Beach we drove back to Scotts Peak Dam Rd., to try and find a location with a dwarf lowland form of Drosera arcturi. We must have driven straight past its location, but we stopped further on to scout out some promising-looking habitat and here was Drosera binata, growing in running water in a creek, just starting to unfurl its first set of spring leaves:


This creek suddendly became much more interesting when we stumbled on a population of lowland GIANT D. arcturi. Here is Spot photographing a plant growing in moss held together between cobbles in the creek only one meter away from the previous D. binata:


As luck would have it, we found it growing along the road in suitable seeps, as well as having colonised a drainage ditch dug above the road to divert heavy runoff:


Some of the plants were growing by the roadside directly where we parked the car, and some of these included last year's dried scapes:


And some plants were growind in full shade under overhangs or under scrub, and were a beautiful emerald green:


(Modified to delete duplicated image)

Edited by MFS
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Reluctantly leaving this great spot, we moved on to try and find the lowland DWARF population of Drosera arcturi. It had been 10 years since I last visited this spot, the scrub was 2m tall where 10 years ago it had been open heath, and this accounted for our having driven straight past it. Luckily I pulled over on a hunch and after wandering about for 5 minutes found the first few plants of dwarf D. arcturi:


These plants were approximately 3cm high and about the same in diameter. After some more searching, we found the original population I had first located 10 years ago, an impressive carpet of glistening, dwarf D. arcturi. Despite the peaty looking substrate, these plants are growing in pure quartzite gravel, overlaid by a layer of 1-2mm of recently deposited silt:


There are many thousands of plants in this population, and the extense of the carpets is difficult to establish. The plants themselves are growing in slowly moving water on a very shallow creek. This may explain how an otherwise alpine plant can survive and thrive in a lowland area that is regularly exposed to hot summer conditions. The unique habitat may also explain why the plants have a radically different morphology to normal and giant D. arcturi. If you went by the leaf morphology alone, this appears to be a totally different species, yet the flowers look like normal D. arcturi. The taxonomy of this population has never been examined in detail.

Finally, a picture to give you an idea of the extent of the population. One of several carpets of D. arcturi we found in just a few minutes of wandering around:


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Hi all,

A few quick additions to Miguel's report.

Just to show what the U. dichotoma looked like in the roadside seeps, sheets like this extended many metres next to the roadside, under water that was at max an inch above the leaves. The traps were very large, as seen before in Tas at Windmill Lagoon when dichotoma was found growing under similar circumstances. Far too early for scapes but we'll probably go back later in the year around New Years.


Drosera binata unfurling from underwater. We found many thousands of plants all over the Scotts Peak area.


Drosera arcturi 'giant'. One point of interest was that these plants are all large, some over 10+ cm tall, when populations on the highlands i.e the Hartz Mountains, would only just have emerged from hibernation. We even found one plant with an almost fully developed flower scape. We'll have to see if this population sets seed earlier than the late February expected of highland locations.



and a lone arcturi from the second site with the smaller, but much more numerous, plants.


All in all a very succesful day. The Lake Pedder area has at least 10 species of drosera and utrics in very accessible roadside sites just an hour and a half from Hobart. And I must say it's good to have Miguel back in the fold, so to speak. Field trips are so much more enjoyable when you've got someone else to go with.


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Great shots guys. I'm amazed how early the D. arcturi emerge at the lower altitudes. The plants occurring at the lowest altitudes here (1600m) are not worth searching for until mid-December.

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Thats a long way from those NZ D. arcturi I have in my greenhouse. Seems like it may be worth trying to get some locations from outside NZ.... Very beautiful plants, thank you for sharing the pics.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, beautiful pics!! The D.arcturi pics are amazing and I also really enjoyed the binata ones. These 2 D.arcturi look like 2 different species to me... Do you guys have shots of the general habitat & surroundig views?

Thanks for sharing,

Fernando Rivadavia

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Hi Fernando,

Nice to see you still around the forums after all these years. :yes:

The plan is to go photograph the flowers in another month or so. From memory (of having found them 10 years ago) the flowers are like normal D. arcturi, but we'll see. I'd love to try and get some seeds into tissue culture.


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Hey Fernando,

The big-leaved plant is that with the large styles (that are usually reddish, but can be white in some "albino" forms from the Hartz mountains) and the non-carnivorous first-emerging leaves in spring. This is the one Allen is currently working on.

All the best,


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Hi Andreas,

Most, if not all Drosera arcturi that I have seen produce some non-carnivorous leaves early in the season.

Also, if you get a chance to fly to Melaleuca in SW Tasmania in flowering season, there are giant D. arcturi plants near the airstrip with up to five (yes, five) flowers per scape. Mind you, the majority still have only one or two.

Have you considered that the larger versions are simply a tetraploid form of the smaller ones, much like Stylidium armeria is only a tetraploid form of S. graminifolium? I might collect some giant D. arcturi later in the season, DAPI-stain the nuclei and run them through the flow cytometer side-by-side with some of the normal form, to make sure.

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Fernado, Andreas and others...

This is the flower of the arcturi that Lowrie is working on. This is from the Hartz Mountains south of Hobart. I'm sure Miguel and I will head back down again to Lake Pedder when the flowers are open and see how many we can find that have this characteristic.



Edited by spotc
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  • 2 months later...

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