Drosera regia

King Sundew

Drosera regia is the king of sundews, a breathtakingly large species growing leaves up to 60cm long, the regal title is well deserved. Found only in a small area near Wellington, it is also one of the rarest sundews in the world. D. regia is unique for its floral arrangements, woody rhizomes, and short winter dormancy which few other Cape species undergo. At least 5 populations of varying sizes are known over an area of a few square kilometres, at elevations of 800-1300m asl. Its unique characteristics have led to it being placed in its own subgenus Regiae.

This mammoth of a sundew grows in wet, peaty fynbos and organic detritus on sheer rock faces. Flowering occurs in late summer and dormancy is typically observed for the cooler months of April-August where temperatures can reach near freezing. Growth erupts from the rhizomes in Spring. Invasive tree species and manipulation of the natural fire regime are noted as serious threats to the persistence of this species.