New plant special uncovered after 170 years

By Jill Dando News

A nature photographer has rediscovered a plant species after 170 years.

The plant was last seen by Western Australia’s first government botanist 170 years ago. 

Daniel Anderson, from Jurien Bay, Australia, stumbled across a flower he had never seen before while out searching for orchids to photograph.

Wildflower Society of Western Australia’s Facebook page

So he took a photo of the unusual bloom and shared it on the Wildflower Society of Western Australia’s Facebook page.

“I wanted to learn and see if someone could tell me a bit more about it,” he said.

Further research by university students revealed that the species had actually been discovered about 170 years ago.

It turned out Mr Anderson had rediscovered a type of carnivorous sundew, Drosera rubricalyx, not seen since Western Australia’s first government botanist, James Drummond, collected a sample of the species in the 1850s.

Recently released research says Mr Anderson’s discovery is just one of six new species of carnivorous sundew found which have never been described before.

The sundew plants produce sticky drops of glue on their tentacled leaves to trap their prey, and are at their most diverse in Australia.

Approximately 115 of the 260 species known worldwide are endemic to the south-west of WA alone.

Many of the species survive the harsh summer by retreating underground as dormant plants before emerging to trap insects, flower and set seed during their autumn-to-spring growing season.