Drosera adelae – The Lance-Leaved Sundew

Often referred to as “the poor man’s King Sundew” (Drosera regia), this queen from Queensland can be a crown jewel in any collection when grown well.

Drosera adelae is a perennial carnivorous plant. Its leaves are almost completely flat but will rise up from the base of the plant toward light; there is a line like a crease down the center of the leaves. The leaves can grow to be beyond a foot long depending on the light intensity and are usually about half an inch wide. In low light, they will be longer and a vibrant, almost electric green; in strong light, they will be shorter and bronzed to a purplish-red. The topside of the leaves are covered in stalked tentacles that look like fine, white hairs that are each tipped at the end by a minute, red round ball that secretes sticky glue to capture and digest prey.

Unique biology of Drosera adelae

Grow regions & close relatives

Drosera adelae grows in Queensland, Australia; specifically Rockingham Bay, Hinchinbrook Island where it is native. Here, it usually grows in “mountain areas among rocks in sandy banks along creeks in rainforest” (Lowrie 132).

At the time of this writing in January 2019, it’s NCA (“Nature Conservation Act” of 1992) conservation status is Rare, meaning, by 2004’s amendments to more closely align with the IUCN Red List categories, “near threatened”.

Drosera adelae is closely related to Drosera prolifera and Drosera schizandra, also found in Queensland, Australia. “Cytological studies showed that each of these species is 2n=30. D. adelae, D. schizandra and D. prolifera appear to have evolved from a common ancestor” (Lowrie 132). In “The Savage Garden”, Peter D’Amato referred to them as, “Three Sisters from Queensland” and the name has stuck.

Other notable characteristics

Drosera adelae most commonly reproduces asexually by producing plantlets from its thick, black, fleshy roots. Because of this, it often grows in clumps. The flowers can also produce seed when pollinated.
Its flowers grow on thin, fuzzy stalks that somewhat spiral at the top. Here, dozens of flowers like little stars open, usually one at a time and lasting only a day or so. The flower petals can be vibrant red to pink to, rarely, cream-colored or white.

Other Sundew species & hybrids