Roridula gorgonias is one of only two species in this genus. It gets its name from the Latin roridos meaning dewy and the Greek gorgon meaning terrible.

R. gorgonias is a perennial shrub up to 1.5 meters in height. It occurs in sphagnum rich coastal areas of the Western Cape Province roughly around the town of Hermanus. Only 10 populations of this plant are known.

The plant has a woody stem with lanceolate alternate leaves op to 8 cm long that are placed in up to 30 rosettes on an adult plant at the tip of the branches.

It is clearly distinct from R. dentata by having more or less smooth leaf margins. Flowers occur on the tip of the plant in the months July – October.

Flowers are about 2 cm in diameter and pink, with more or less triangular petals.

Roridula is unusual as a carnivorous plant in that is doesn’t produce enzymes to digest captured pray and that the trapping mechanism is not a glue but a resin.

The resin is much stronger than the average glue found on Drosera and consequently the plant is capable of capturing large prey. To digest this pray the plant lives in symbiosis with assassin bugs (Pameridea roridula). These bugs are capable of moving on the plant without being caught and suck the fluids from the captured prey to feed themselves. Their excrements are absorbed by the plant enabling it to benefit from its catch.

Cultivation is relatively easy. The plant needs a well drained 50/50 mix of sand and peat and should be kept moist but not wet. Do not disturb the root system!

As R.gorgonias is limited to only 10 populations the species is very much endangered. On top of this the plant lives in a fire based ecosystem that due to human interventions sees less and less fires. It is therefore of paramount importance that all lineages are retained in cultivation and propagated to preserve the natural variation of this species. If you grow distinct 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 R. gorgonias, 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.

 

plant from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Pameridea bug

plant from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

plant from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

plant from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

plant from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve