Pygmy drosera gemmae

Pygmy Drosera are unique in the drosera genus in that they produce gemmae.Gemmae can be thought of as small buds(1-2mm across) that form near the center of the plant and are genetically identical to the parent plant.Gemmae are a means of asexual reproduction for these plants.Each pygmy drosera plant can produce hundreds of gemmae,sometimes they are produced in two batches or more. The gemmae are produced in late Autumn and early winter which corresponds to a time of year with favourable growing conditions in their natural environment.The rains will then spread the gemmae around,this is important so that the new plants do not all start to grow in almost the same spot.Tiny roots are sent out in the next few days from the gemmae and are then followed by small leaves.Approximately six months after starting out as gemmae a mature plant is formed.

Notes on cultivation here Gemmae

Above gemmae can be seen in the center of the pygmy drosera rosette

Pygmy Drosera Gemmae facts

  • Gemmae are modified leaves.
  • Gemmae can initially tolerate dry conditions as they seem to have a protective coating which is dissolved in wet conditions.
  • When mature, gemmae detach from the central rosette of the pygmy drosera and are arranged in such a way that there is a certain tension amongst them.The tension is helped by the stipules located around and underneath them.When a raindrop hits the group of gemmae the tension is released catapulting some gemmae a meter or more from the main plant.
  • Initially gemmae are in a dormant state and can last that way for a month or more.Dormancy seems to be broken with exposure to water.Even with growth occuring a gemmae can last a month or more without being planted.
  • Each gemmae contains a store of energy for the developing plant,much like some seeds do.
  • One pygmy drosera can increase in number at an astronomical rate by propagation through gemmae if there are the right conditions.For example,given ideal conditions a single pygmy drosera plant can produce enough plants to cover the entire Earths surface in approximately 10 seasons.In practice this means that a population of pygmy drosera can bounce back very quickly given a few good seasons.
  • Gemmae are clones of the parent plant.
  • Gemmae are an important part of the survival strategy of pygmy drosera taking advantage of favourable conditions to produce new plants.
  • Each species of pygmy drosera has unique gemmae.
  • Other plants and carnivorous plants produce gemmae,such as Pinguicula.

At left is a gemmae of Drosera Leucoblasta,the possible coating can be clearly seen as well as the red embryo tap root.


Above are some gemmae of Drosera Eneabba.The reddish depressions in the gemmae are the points opposite to where the gemmae were attached to the main plant.If gemmae are thought of as modified leaves that would be the leaf tip. The embryo plant consists of a reddish,yellow part which will become the roots and an adjacent green part which will produce the leaves.Most of the much larger remaining part of the gemmae contains energy for the embryo plant.