Drosera pygmaea


Drosera: dewy
pygmaea: tiny

Current Conservation Status

2018 - At Risk - Relict

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable
2009 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable
2004 - Gradual Decline


2012 - DP, SO
2009 - DP, SO


Drosera pygmaea DC.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites




Indigenous. Common in Australia. In New Zealand known from the far north (from Te Paki to about Dargaville), west of Auckland, near Waiouru, and the South Island from near Bluff Hill. It is probably present elsewhere but its small size and often reddish colouration makes it difficult to see in the open, clay pans and peaty ground it favours.


Coastal to subalpine. Usually in gumland and pakihi shrublands and adjoining wetlands, especially peat bogs. Also present on seasonally damp clay pans developed over ultramafic soils. This species requires open ground and will not long persist in the presence of other taller plants.


Diminutive, annual to biennial, dark red, bright green or yellow-green plants forming rosettes 5–20 mm diameter. Gemma, 40–70 per plant, 0.7–0.8 × 0.6 mm, reniform, flattened, dark red or green; appearing February–June. Leaves 6–12, radical; stipules 1.1–5.0 × 0.5–0.9 mm, attached to base of upper petiole surface, laciniate, hyaline to silvery-white, trifid, central lobe cut 2–3 times, lateral lobes 2-pointed; petiole 3–6 × 0.4–0.5 mm, linear, narrowing towards lamina, glabrous; lamina 1.5–2.0 × 2.0–2.6 mm, subpeltate, peltate, suborbicular to orbicular, dark red, bright green, or yellow-green, upper surface deeply concave, glandular hairs 1.5–2.8 mm. Inflorescence scapigerous; scapes 5.0–18.0 × 0.2 mm, erect, wiry, dark red, bright green or yellow-green, surface sparsely glandular-papillate. Flowers 1–per scape, 3 mm diameter, tetramerous, white, scentless. Sepals 4, 1.0–0.6 mm, obovate, upper ½ irregularly toothed, dark red, green or green-red, glabrous. Petals 4, 1.5–1.8 × 1.2–1.4 mm, narrowly obovate to obovate, white. Stamens 4, 0.6–0.8 mm, filaments white, anthers light yellow. Fruit 1.6 × 1.4 mm, orbicular, orbicular-obovate, dark red, green or green-red, containing up to 40 seeds. Seeds 0.4 × 0.25 mm, ovoid, black, surface deeply scalariform.

Similar Taxa

The much more common and large D. spatulata is often confused for D. pygmaea. From D. spatulata, D. pygmaea can be immediately recognised by the prominent, erect tuft of stipules, which are much longer than the associated leaves.


October -March

Flower Colours




Propagation Technique

Difficult and should not be removed from the wild.


At serious risk over much of its known range from wetland drainage and the spread of larger, faster growing weeds. Probably extinct in the Auckland area due to drain clearance and road maintenance,and it may now have gone from the Central Volcanic Plateau as a consequence of the spread of faster growing naturalised grasses into some of the key wetland habitats it was known from. Still common from Kaitaia and Doubtless Bay north, though here too many of its key habitats are either drained, being drained or are vulnerable to spread of taller and faster growing weeds.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2008). Description based on Salmon (2001), live and herbarium specimens - see also de Lange et al. (2010).

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

Salmon, B. 2001: Carnivorous plants of New Zealand. Ecosphere Publications, Manurewa.

This page last updated on 10 Sep 2014