Rainbow Plant (Byblis)


The genus Byblis (Rainbow Plants) is with five species a small genus of carnivorous plants, members of this genus are to be found in the south of New Guinea and mainly in North Australia. A special position takes Byblis gigantea, which grows in West Australia. It is a perennial, shrub-like plant, which can reach a height of one metre. Apart from that members of the genus Byblis are annual, rather small and fragile plants. Especially Byblis liniflora produces numerous, self-fertile, violet flowers in summer.

Trap mechanism

The basically trap mechanism was already detailed described on the previous site. Rainbow Plants produce on the whole plant numerous immovable tentacles, which secrete on their end small clue drops. With the help of the clue drops Rainbow Plants are able to catch small insects. At the beginning of the 20th century digestion enzymes were seemingly proven in the dew of Rainbow Plants. Since then, as far as I know, this experimental proof was not verified in numerous studies, so that the genus Byblis is strictly speaking to classify as protocarnivorous.

Culture and propagation

Until now I have experiences only in the culture of Byblis liniflora. Its culture and propagation is easy. As already mentioned Byblis liniflora is annual, it has to sow every year again. Put the seed on the soil, do not cover, because light germinator. The seedling appears already in a short time. The plant is later very fragile, also its roots. That is why I sow only one plant each pot. This can quite be small, because the plant can reach maximal 25 centimetres height in one year and produces a relative modest root system. As soil is advisable unfertilized peat mixed with a lot of quartz sand (ratio 2:1 to 1:1). A slight, permanent ebb and flood irrigation system (water level 0,5 – 1,0 cm) is well tolerated. Although Byblis liniflora is from tropical regions, it reacts on humid, stagnant air awkward and moulds quickly on the stem. Therefore it is no plant for closed terrariums. I sow my plants on the winowsill in early spring and cultivate the plants at a sunny and wind-protected place outdoor as from May. If you sow your plants timely, they can reach a flowering sized height until summer. Then the self-fertile flowers produce seeds, which can be reaped in autumn, before the plant dies.