Friday, June 12, 2015

Introducing Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'

I've hinted a couple times in the last few weeks that I have a fun story to tell about the plant I've been calling Drosera capillaris (Alabama). It turns out I discovered a rare cultivar right under my nose!

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy' with flower stalk.
My first flower stalk on this plant in a long time. I need to get some more seed!
It started several months ago when I was browsing the ICPS website's list of registered cultivars. If you're looking for a really nerdy way to spend an hour or two, go spend some time reading cultivar descriptions, it's pretty cool. I came across the description for Drosera 'Emerald's Envy', which was a white-flowered form of D. capillaris that was collected from a population in Florida. It reminded me of my plants.

However, since my plants were labeled as being from Alabama, rather than Florida, I didn't want to assume that this was the cultivar. This all changed when I was over visiting Predatory Plants and noticed that Josh had the same D. capillaris plant (from California Carnivores). He told me that the "Alabama" on the label was a result of misreading the handwritten abbreviation "AL", which was supposed to stand for "Albino" or "alba".

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy' in a clump.
My favorite picture of this plant before I separated the clump.
I had to investigate further. First I contacted Damon at California Carnivores, who confirmed the story about the labels, adding that he didn't know the exact provenance of the original seeds they got, but that they very well could be from Florida. Next I contacted William Clemens, who registered the cultivar in 2006 (he's active on TerraForums as Joesph Clemens). Based on the picture I sent him and my description of the plants, he felt that my plant was indeed D. 'Emerald's Envy', which he was afraid had gone extinct in the 9 years since he registered the cultivar.

To quote from the cultivar description:
"...the entire leaf petiole and blade exhibit light to medium green coloration, even when grown in strong artificial light or full sunlight...the flowers of Drosera 'Emerald's Envy' are white--a somewhat unusual color (although white-flowered plants are occasionally encountered in the wild)...Drosera 'Emerald's Envy' may be propagated by seed or vegetative means, but no matter how the plant is propagated, in order to retain the name Drosera 'Emerald's Envy', the progeny must exhibit the light green leaf color, white flower color, and maintain the form of the standard, even when grown under conditions of strong light (including full sun)..."
You can read the full article here. Compare that description to the plants above, as well as to these long-arm form D. capillaris I got during the NASC auction.

Drosera capillaris long arm.
These have really settled in and are looking great, btw.
While the long petioles are a big difference, the color is really the striking thing. That red color is much more typical of D. capillaris.

Mr. Clemens was happy that this cultivar is still circulating, and so am I! It's really a lovely plant, and now it's got a cool name to boot. I've sold a few packets of seed over the last year – if you bought one of them I guess it's time to update your labels! Also if you bought a plant from California Carnivores with the label "Drosera capillaris Alabama" that displays the above characteristics you can as well. I think it would be cool if this cultivar could be more widely-recognized. It's easy to grow and propagate, and charming as heck.

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'.
Drosera 'Emerald's Envy'.
Now that's a pretty plant.


  1. Oh wow! That's really cool! I have some Drisera capillaries as well but they're the shorter petiole form. They're incredibly charming plants!

    1. Edit: *Drosera capillaris. iPhones really don't like scientific names...

  2. I noticed that though the flowers produce seeds, they just wouldn't open no matter how many times i tried. The flower bud just turns pink then the pinkish color slowly fades away and turns green and black. I forcefully ripped a flower apart to get the pollen and it wasn't sticky and dust-like, it was like pellets. I sticked the pollen to the stigma of Drosera indica flower but i don't know if it worked or not as i forgot to label it, but very unlikely. Drosera capillaris grows super super slow and the full sun exposed one doesn't look nice at all; it just keeps flowering and it literally looks like a weed from nowhere though the seedlings look tiny and nice. Also, it is very vulnerable to pests like aphids? I don't know the name of the pests but it looked very small and greenish, it only stays on the flower stalk, so the affected flower buds look even more ugly and therefore it's annoying. I would rather go with Drosera indica or capensis than this one, I kind of regret purchasing it because there are better looking ones, plus this species grow really really slow, especially the seedlings.