ANDREAS FLEISCHMANN, ANDREAS WISTUBA & STEWART MCPHERSON
Drosera solaris (Droseraceae), a new sundew from the Guayana High-
Fleischmann, A., Wistuba, A. & McPherson, S.: Drosera solaris (Droseraceae), a new sundew
from the Guayana Highlands. – Willdenowia 37: 551-555. – ISSN 0511-9618; © 2007 BGBM
doi:10.3372/wi.37.37214 (available via http://dx.doi.org/)
Drosera solaris is described as a new species from Guyana and illustrated. It belongs to D. subg.
Drosera sect. Drosera and seems to be related to D. felix and D. kaieteurensis, the only other neo-
tropical species with cup-like dehiscing capsules. Data on its distribution, habitat and ecology as
well as an identification key to the three related species are given.
Key words: carnivorous plants, Drosera felix, Drosera kaieteurensis, Guyana, taxonomy.
Eight species of Drosera have been recorded from Guyana so far (Brummer-Dinger 1955, Duno
de Stefano 2003), all of them occurring in the Venezuelan Guayana as well (Duno de Stefano &
Culham 1998). An expedition revealed the existence of a new, undescribed endemic Drosera in
the Pakaraima Mountains of western Guyana. It is only known from a small plateau in the
Pakaraima Mountains southeast to the famous Mt Roraima, which is located at the border of
Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil (Huber 1995).
Drosera solaris A. Fleischm., Wistuba & S. McPherson, sp. nov.
Holotype: Guyana, Pakaraima Mountains, Mt Yakontipu, just below the summit of the plateau,
2065 m, Wistuba & McPherson (BRG; isotypes: B, M) – Fig. 1.
Drosera felix Steyerm. & L. B. Sm. affinis sed caulibus elongatis ramosis vel ramosissimis, sti-
pulis conspicuis 7.5-8 mm longis et sepalis glabris differt.
Perennial herb. Stems erect, up to 10 cm long, apically branched, densely covered with persistent
dead leaves. Leaves rosetted, young leaves ascendent, becoming reflexed with age. Stipules
7.5-8 mm long, membranaceous, white (yellowish brown with age), adnate at the base and attached
to the petiole for c. 1 mm, at 1/4to 1/5of their length 4-laciniate, segments c. 7 mm long, narrowly
Willdenowia 37 – 2007 551
552 Fleischmann & al.: Drosera solaris from the Guayana Highlands
Fig. 1. Drosera solaris – A: habit of flowering plant; B: leaf, upper surface, with attached stipule; C: leaf lower
surface, with attached stipule bent backwards; D: 2-flowered inflorescence after anthesis; E: ovary and styles
(one style branch partially removed); F: stamen, G: petal, H: seeds. – Scale bars: A = 10 mm, B-D = 2 mm, E-H
= 1 mm; after the type material drawn by A. Fleischmann.
linear-lanceolate to filiform, tapering gradually into the acute apex. Petiole 7-7.5 mm long, up to
1 mm wide, green to golden-yellow, upper surface minutely papillose, lower surface covered with
appressed, simple white hairs 1-2 mm long. Lamina suborbicular, apex rounded, 2-3 × 2-2.5 mm,
red, margins and centre covered with retentive glands on the upper side, lower surface covered with
appressed, simple white hairs. Scapes 1 or 2, erect, 1- or 2-flowered, 6-7.5 mm long, peduncle very
short, 0-0.2 mm long; pedicels erect, 4-5.5 mm long, basally densely covered with simple white
hairs 1-2.5 mm long; hairs shorter (c. 1 mm long), more scattered and intermixed with short-stalked
glands to the apex of the pedicels. Calyx campanulate, c. 4 × 3 mm, sparsely covered with simple
white hairs c. 0.5 mm long and scattered short-stalked glands. Sepals 5, broadly lanceolate, 2-2.5
mm long, up to 2 mm wide at half of their length, red, glabrous, erect at anthesis, recurved in fruit.
Petals 5, broadly obovate, c. 2.5 × 2 mm, white to pinkish white. Stamens 5, filaments to 0.2 mm
broad near the apex, white; connective dilated; anthers yellow; pollen yellow. Ovary subglobose, 1
× 1 mm, glabrous, greenish yellow. Styles 3, each divided from about 0.1 mm above the base, united
at the base; style branches c. 2 mm long, glabrous, reddish at the base, white towards the apex;
stigma flabellate to bifurcate. Capsule loculicidal, after ripening cup-like, pedicels erect in fruit.
Seed c. 0.6 mm long, ovoid to subglobose, apiculate, shiny, black, testa reticulate.
Ic. – Fig. 1; further figures (colour photographs) are provided in the electronic supplement to this
paper at http://www.bgbm.org/willdenowia/willd37/fleischmann+al.htm.
Distribution. –Drosera solaris is known so far only from the type collection from Mt Yakontipu,
Guyana, but may occur on neighbouring mountains in Brazil and Venezuela as well.
The mountain on which Drosera solaris was discovered, was first recorded on an illustration
chart produced by George Tate in 1930. The mountain on Tate’s map is named ‘Mt Yakontipu’.
This small plateau of c. 2150 m elevation is a boundary marking of the Guyanan-Brazilian border,
therefore the Portuguese spelling ‘Monte Iacontipu’ or ‘Monte Yacontipu’ can be found as well.
Habitat and ecology. –Drosera solaris grows in swamps of Bonnetia roraimae Oliv. (Theaceae)
on a plateau at 2065 m, just below the summit of Mt Yakontipu. It was discovered in an isolated
population within a small clearing in the B. roraimae cloud forest, on peaty substrate rich in leaf
litter and organic matter. The plants grow in dappled shade, generally in 10-50 % shade, the most
colourful individuals, however, occur in areas exposed to intense sunlight. Accompanying plants
in these habitats are the natural hybrid of Heliamphora glabra (Maguire) Nerz & al. and H.
nutans Benth. (Sarraceniaceae), Epidendrum spp. (Orchidaceae), Stegolepis guianensis Körn.
(Rapateaceae), Xyris spp. and Orectanthe sceptrum (Oliv.) Maguire (Xyridaceae). D. solaris ap-
pears to be restricted to the Bonnetia roraimae cloud forest vegetation and seems to be absent
from the swampy, open wetlands of Yakontipu summit, where D. roraimae (Diels) Maguire & J.
R. Laundon occurs in great abundance.
The petioles of Drosera solaris are green to golden-yellow in plants growing in full sun and
therefore contrast well in colour with the wine red lamina and tentacles. These “bicoloured” ro-
settes are unique among all known South American species of Drosera. This colour differentia-
tion is absent only in seedlings and young plants up to about 1 cm in height.
Drosera solaris has very short scapes that are erect in fruit. The ripe capsule opens cup-like,
the sepals are reflexed in fruit and the seeds are relatively big and roundish. In most other species
of Drosera the capsule opens by slits, the sepals are often erect in fruit and the seeds are rectan-
gular to fusiform in outline. So far, only D. felix Steyerm. & L. B. Sm. and D. kaieteurensis
Brumm.-Ding. from the Neotropics are known to have the same cup-like capsules, both in com-
bination with rather stiff and short scapes and pedicels that stay upright in fruit. Whereas in most
Drosera species, of which the flower stalks are tall and flexuous and the seeds are narrow and
light, we may assume wind dispersal (the seeds are shed from the capsules), water seems to be
the vector for seed dispersal in D. felix, D. kaieteurensis and D. solaris.The roundish seeds,
which are presented in the open shallow cups, are easily splashed out by water droplets during
occasional rainfalls (so called ‘splash-cup’ mechanism).
Willdenowia 37 – 2007 553
Like the related Drosera felix and D. kaieteurensis, D. solaris has sweetly perfumed flowers.
Another Drosera from the Guayana Highlands of Venezuela with scented flowers is D. arenicola
Steyerm. All these species have in common a rather short flower scape, thus the flower odour
might have evolved to attract insect pollinators to the flowers, while keeping them away from the
carnivorous leaves. The small white flowers close early in the afternoon, thus nocturnal polli-
nators might be excluded. Within the genus, nocturnal insect pollinators are to be expected only
in some Australian Drosera with scented flowers that remain open at night (Lowrie 1987); this,
however, is not the case with respect to D. solaris.
Etymology. – The epithet ‘solaris’ (gr. ‘sunny’ or ‘sunloving’) was chosen to illustrate the bright
and shiny appearance of this sundew, with its bright yellowish green petioles contrasting with the
bright red leaf blades.
Taxonomic affinities. –Drosera solaris belongs to D. subg. Drosera sect. Drosera (sensu Diels
1906, Seine & Barthlott 1994) and it seems to be closely related to D. felix and D. kaieteurensis,
two further species from the savannas of the Guayana Highlands (Brummer-Dinger 1955,
Steyermark & Smith 1974).
With its branched upright stems, the bristly looking, conspicuous, white and deeply laciniate
stipules and the almost sessile flowers which are nested within the rosette, Drosera solaris looks
superficially reminiscent of D. meristocaulis Maguire & Wurdack of the monotypic section
Meristocaulis (Maguire & Wurdack 1957), an isolated species endemic to the summit of Cerro de
la Neblina at the Venezuelan-Brazilian border. But the 3 simple styles and the multiple-branched
stigmas clearly separate D. meristocaulis from all other South American species of Drosera.
Key to species of Drosera with cup-like capsules that occur in the Guayanas
1. Plants caulescent with branched stems; stipules long and conspicuous; sepals glabrous;
Guyana, expected in adjacent Brazil and Venezuela ...........1.D. solaris
– Plants acaulescent or with only short, unbranched stems of persistent old rosette leaves;
2. Scape 1-20 mm long, 1-2(-3)-flowered, covered sparsely with red appressed hairs; lamina
suborbicular (about as wide as long); Venezuela ............. 2.D. felix
– Scape 20-80 mm long, usually with more than 2 flowers (up to 8), covered with long white
hairs and short-stalked glands; lamina rotundate to widely obovate (wider than long); Guy-
ana,Venezuela .......................3.D. kaieteurensis
The authors would like to thank Fernando Rivadavia, Brazil, for personal correspondence and
helpful comments as well as to Dr Jan Schlauer, Tübingen, and a second, anonymous referee for
reviewing the manuscript.
Brummer-Dinger, C. H. 1955: Notes on Guiana Droseraceae. – Acta Bot. Neerl. 4: 136-138.
Diels, L. 1906: Droseraceae. – In: Engler, A. (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich 26. – Berlin.
Duno de Stefano, R. 2003: Droseraceae. – Pp. 144-155 in: Jansen-Jacobs, M. J. (ed.), Flora of
the Guianas, Ser. A: Phanerogams 22. – Königstein.
— & Culham, A. 1998: Droseraceae. – Pp. 697-703 in: Steyermark, J. A., Berry, P. E. & Holst,
B. K. (ed.), Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana 4. – St Louis.
Huber, O. 1995: Geographical and physical features. – Pp. 1-61 in: Steyermark, J. A., Berry, P.
E. & Holst, B. K. (ed.), Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana 1. – St Louis.
Maguire, B. & Wurdack, J. J. 1957: The botany of the Guayana Highland, Part II. – Mem. New
York Bot. Gard. 9: 331-336.
554 Fleischmann & al.: Drosera solaris from the Guayana Highlands
Lowrie, A. 1987: Carnivorous plants of Australia, 1. –Perth.
Seine, R. & Barthlott, W. 1994: Some proposals on the infrageneric classification of Drosera L.
– Taxon 43: 583-589. [CrossRef]
Steyermark, J. A. & Smith, L. B. 1974: A new Drosera from Venezuela. – Rhodora 76: 491-493.
Tate, G. H. H. 1930: Notes on the Mount Roraima region. – Geogr. Rev. 20: 53-68. [CrossRef]
Addresses of the authors:
Andreas Fleischmann, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Systematic Botany and Mycology,
Menzinger Strasse 67, D-80638 Munich, Germany; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andreas Wistuba, Mudauer Ring 227, D-68259 Mannheim, Germany.
Stewart McPherson, 61 Lake Drive, Hamworthy, Poole, Dorset, BH15 4LR, UK.
Willdenowia 37 – 2007 555