Drosera cistiflora gets its name from the Greek word drosos meaning dew and the fact that its flower is very much like that of the genus Cistus, the rockrose of Southern Europe.

D. cistiflora grows in the South African provinces of North Cape, Eastern Cape  and Western Cape. It occurs localized, often in dense populations as islands in the surrounding vegetation. The plant grows in seasonably moist sandy substrate.

This species is a summer dormant sundew, meaning that it only actively grows in the cooler and wetter months of the year. It survives the extreme dry conditions of the South African summer (November - March) by storing water and nutrients in thick fleshy and fibrous roots.

Drosera cistiflora grows upright along a self-supporting stem up to 40 cm high.At the beginning of the growth season, a basal rosette is produced. The flower stem is growing straight out of this rosette. From this stem grow strap shaped leaves without a petiole that are placed alternately on opposite sides of the stem. The leaves are yellowish green to red in color and 2 - 5 cm long. They are covered with tentacles that carry the signature sticky mucilage for catching prey of the sundews.

Drosera cistiflora is a very variable species. Almost every location has its own form. The plants are variable in all aspects. For example, there are deep red plants as well as green ones. Variants of Drosera cistiflora also differ in their height as well as the number and form of the linear leafs on the flower stalk. This complex will almost certainly be split into several (sub)species sooner or later.

The flowers are amongst the largest in the genus, often more than 6 cm in diameter. The species is highly variable in flower color ranging from white, pink and orange to crimson red. The centre of the flowers often shows black markings giving the plant a poppy like appearance. In contrast to other south African Drosera, the flowers of Droser cistiflora open for up to three days. In many cases Drosera cistiflora is pollinated by a group of beetles from the Scarab family (Hoplia sp.) , known informally as monkey beetles.

There is a remarkable variant of this species with large red flowers, that can be found in only very few locations in the Darling area. The populations all consist of only a very few plants. For many growers, this is one of the most beautiful of all forms. Saddly, it also is one of the most threatened form.

Another noteworthy population can be found in the Cedar Mountains. Some of the plants there have dense upright growing basal rosettes, that, in some cases, can give them an almost round appearance. The flowers stalks only have very few leafs and have in many cases only one single flower. The flower is quite large and is a light pink. This variant got the informal name D. cistiflora “Eitz”, named after Günter Eitz, who discovered this species.

In the wild the plant flowers in August and September.

Cultivation is not easy. Plants are grown in a peat and sand mix and kept only slightly moist during most of the year. By the end of the summer watering is increased and growth should occur. Watering should be reduced when summer returns to light overhead watering.

Drosera cistiflora can be self-pollinated. To do this, you need to know, that the stigmas are not ready to accept pollen from the first day on. If you want to produce seeds you will have to wait until the stigmas are ready to accept the pollen. This is usualy the case from the second day on. By looking at the stigmas you can easily see if they are ready to accept pollen. If they have a star-like appearance, it is time to put some pollen onto them. If they are still looking flat, it needs to be waited a bit more.

As D. cistiflora is a much localized species and every locality tends to have its own distinct coloration it is very much under threat as just the building of a new house or turn off can destroy a variation of this species.

It is of paramount importance that all lineages of D. cistiflora are retained in cultivation and propagated to preserve the natural variation this species. If you grow distinct strains or location forms that are not in the Rare South African carnivorous plants Collection, and are willing to donate or sell plants, cuttings or seeds of legally cultivated plants to Ark of Life, please contact the team through this contact page of this website.

If you cultivate D. cistiflora, but are unable to contribute material to the Rare South African carnivorous plants Collection, however would still like to help save this species, please register your plants with Ark of Life, so that we can develop a breeding program and record all location forms of this critically endangered plant in cultivation.

Drosera cistiflora from Darling

Drosera cistiflora from Bain's Kloof

Drosera cistiflora from Bain's Kloof

Drosera cistiflora from Bain's Kloof

Drosera cistiflora from Silvermine

Drosera cistiflora from Hermanus

Drosera cistiflora from Hermanus

Drosera cistiflora "Eitz" from the Cedar Mountains

Drosera cistiflora "Eitz" from the Cedar Mountains

Drosera cistiflora "Eitz" from the Cedar Mountains

Drosera cistiflora "Eitz" from the Cedar Mountain

Drosera cistiflora from Kalbaskraal

The red flowered form from Darling

the polinator of Drosera cistiflora

Drosera cistiflora from Gifberg

Drosera cistiflora from Nieuwoudtville

Drosera cistiflora from Nieuwoudtville

Drosera cistiflora from Betty's Bay

Drosera cistiflora from Betty's Bay