|Several plants in cultivation|
Seine & Barthlott
Drosera regia, also known as the King sundew, is a carnivorous plant of the sundew family. In the wild, it only grows in two places in a single valley in South Africa. Its leaves can grow to a size of 70 cm in length. It also has features which are not found in many other sundews, such as wooded rhizomes and special covered pollen. These features have been combined with a genetic analysis, and it was found that D. regia is among the older species of sundew. The Venus Flytrap, another carnivorous plant, shares some of the features, which suggests a close relationship between the two.
The leaves of the plant are covered with tentacles. They are able to capture large prey, such as beetles, moths and butterflies. The tentacles of all Drosera species are specialized glands, capable of producing sticky mucus. The leaves are active flypaper traps: they capture prey by surrounding it. In its native habitat, the plants compete for space with native marsh grasses and low evergreen shrubs. There are two known populations of the plant in the wild. The higher-altitude site is overgrown, and D. regia no longer grows there. On the lower-altitude site, there are about 50 mature plants. For this reason, D. regia is the most endangered Drosera species, since it is threatened with extinction in the wild. It is often grown by people who like carnivorous plants and a single cultivar, "Big Easy", has been registered.