Drosera alba

White Sundew

Drosera alba is a rather unique winter-growing sundew from Gifberg, the northernmost parts of the Cederberg, and on the Bokkeveld plateau. A generally arid region receiving less than 300mm of rain annually. The distribution mainly lies in sandstone fynbos derivatives, such as bokkeveld sandstone fynbos. It is unique for its dimorphic growth habit of small rosette leaves that emerge first, followed by spindly erect leaves that reach for the skies. The epithet alba refers to the often-white flowers, a bit of a misnomer as pink/lavender flowers are not uncommon on the blood-red plant.

The species mostly occupies shallow, seasonally inundated pans of sand over layers of rock. It also grows in moss banks in places. The growing season is short, around 4 months long, from August-November when the habitats are at their wettest. The remainder of the year is spent as dormant roots underground. Sympatric species include Utricularia brachyceras and Gifberg endemic Oxalis oculifera that share these seasonal pans. 

Sources: Distribution data: Personal obs, Alex Dietrick (Pers Comm). Weather: SA Atlas of Climatology and Agrohydrology (R.E. Schulze, 2009) via CapeFarmMapper