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Drosera in habitat South Island New Zealand

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Last month I visited two locations in the southern alps where carnivorous plants grow. The first was Arthurs Pass at the start of March and the secound is Fiordland at the end of March .

They are just about to go into dormancy with autumn here well underway. I took a couple of pics and made a couple of short videos. The videos are just to give you some idea of where they grow.

New Zealand has only a few native cps but they are quite unusual.

Drosera stenopetala is the only endemic species. its temperate going into dormancy by the middle of autumn. Once the snows of winter have gone it starts to form larger and karger leaves with spring. The leaves are at there largest during summer. Then as autumn arrives they get smaller and smaller eventually many small leaves form a tight hybernaculum around the apical meristem (growth point)

It mainly grows above treeline but in the south at sites with less cmpetition it can grow down at sea level. Even in the alpine zone it only grows in places where there is less competition in seepages that have very little other plants growing.


Drosera arctaurii is an unusual lancelate species with also grows in Tasmania Australia. Its actually related to D regia. It had mostly died back by the time I visited the mountains but I did find these strange half carnivorous leaved plants growing beside D stenopetala at Arthurs Pass.



Drosera spatulata[/u] is common in the mountains in the South Island especially where the rainfall is high. There are several different forms in NZ depending on the location they all have white flowers unlike overseas forms with pink flowers. NZ has a predominence of white flowered plants. this is thought to be due to the lack of specialised insect pollinators. A lot of different flies and other inescts will pollinate any given species. If you have flowers that only attract one kind of insect (such as pretty coloured flowers) then you wont get pollinated in NZ.


Finally here are some videos to show you the plants and where they grow.

Drosera stenopetala Arthurs Pass:

Utricularia dichotoma Arthurs Pass:


Drosera stenopetala in Fiordland (this video shows the alpine environment better than the first stenopetala video

Drosera spatulata in Fiordland

I hope you find these interesting I really enjoyed visiting these areas and hope to go back in high summer to see them in there prime and with flowers next summer.


Edited by kinabalufan
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Hey, Ross!

Your post is such a treat for me, thank you! I love the pics and video, it is a beautiful countryside, I hope one day I can pay a visit.

About the drosera spatulata from South Island, it really looks different than non-NZ spatulatas. I grow d. spatulata from North Land (Ahipara Gumfields), and it looks different than others, too. It is similar to the one in video, more delicate, smaller rosette, leaves with thinner long petioles, smaller and differently shaped lamina and hairlike, fragile roots (like pygmies). How big does the one in the video get when adult?

Thanx for posting the links! :hi:

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Thanks for the kind comments.

Im no expert on D spatulata so Im not sure of the taxanomic position of the New zealand plants compared to overseas forms but I do think its different and not just the white flowers. Its about thumbnail size.

Its pretty small maybe about the size of a pygmy sundew. I think there are recognisably different forms within New Zealand: an alpine form which has a winter dormancy and lowland forms and the North Island plants are different again.

Here is another photo of Drosera spatulata from Arthurs Pass South island NZ.


Bruce Salmon is the expert on NZ cps and his book is very good

This link from the New Zealand carnivorous plant society gives a good description and photos from different locations (including ahipara gum fields)


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Hi Ross,

nice pictures and interesting videos, thanks for sharing.

I´m also growing D. spatulata ´Mt. Arthur´ and in my opinion it´s one of the most beautiful D. spatulata together with D. spatulata var. gympiensis ´Gympie, QLD, Australia´.

Best regards,


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