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Giant Sundew: Carnivorous Plant Debuts on Social Media ESF Top 10 New Species of 2016

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  • Giant Sundew on mountain

    Drosera magnifica: group of plants
    Photo credit: Paulo M. Gonella

  • Giant Sundew

    Drosera magnifica with prey, a small butterfly
    Photo credit: Paulo M. Gonella

  • numerous flowering plants

    Drosera magnifica: numerous flowering plants
    Photo credit: Paulo M. Gonella

  • Giant Sundew

    Drosera magnifica in its habitat in southeastern Brazil
    Photo credit: Paulo M. Gonella

Giant Sundew map

About the Giant Sundew

Name: Drosera magnifica

Location: Brazil

How it made the Top 10: This is believed to be the first new species of plant discovered through photographs posted on Facebook. It is also a record-setter, being the largest sundew ever seen in the New World, growing to 123 cm (48 inches). With nearly 200 species, the sundew genus is one of the most species-rich groups of carnivorous plants. Like other sundews, it secretes a thick mucus on the surface of its leaves that entraps unsuspecting insects that are then digested to compensate for the inadequate nutrition available in the soils in which it grows. Although it is new to science, this sundew is considered to be critically endangered. It is a microendemic, known to exist only at the summit of a single mountain in Brazil, 1,550 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level. Although locally abundant, its habitat is isolated, limited and fragile.

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Angiospermae

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Droseraceae

Size: The stem may be prostrate or ascending, clinging to vegetation and reaching lengths up to 123.5 cm (about 4 feet)

Etymology: Named for the magnificent appearance of the plant

Type locality: Brazil, Minas Gerais, Conselheiro Pena, Pico de Padre Ângelo, 1530 m

Holotype: Herbario Universidade de São Paulo

More information: Paulo Minatel Gonella, Fernando Rivadavia, and Andreas Fleischmann. 2015. Drosera magnifica (Droseraceae): the largest New World sundew, discovered on Facebook. Phytotaxa 220: 257-267

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