Canton is a small town in east Texas with a population of just a few thousand, most famous for it's First Monday Trade Days, the US's largest flea market. Thousands flock to this event in hopes of snagging rare antiques, handmade goods, or discount products. However, my journey to this little town on December 16th, 2021 was for a different kind of treasure, namely the dwarf sundew Drosera brevifolia. One of two species of sundew native to Texas (the other being D. capillaris), this species inhabits the seasonally wet/dry lands of east Texas. Often dying down to roots and seed during the hot summers, these plants return in winter and resume blooming in spring.
Canton is found in Van Zandt county, on the edge of what's considered east Texas and the great plains of north Texas. Most, if not all online databases list Van Zandt county as not having this species, but many fellow growers in the area have reported populations of Drosera brevifolia inhabiting Cherry Creek Park in Canton.
Canton is about an hour and a half away from Plano. After taking a short lunch break in Forney, I finally arrived in Cherry Creek Park. The first thing I noticed was the extremely sandy soil, a far cry from the thick, clay soil of Plano (Houston Black Clay). It's interesting how an hour;s drive can turn into vastly different ecosystems.
I was informed that the populations of Drosera brevifolia were found near where the grass meets the trees. The area was covered in a thick layer of leaves, and after scouring the area, no sundews were found. However, lots of mosses and other plants that grow sympatrically with Drosera were found. A nice gentleman even stopped to ask if I was looking for deer tracks, as I was kneeling down and inspecting the ground every few feet or so.
Initially, I was confused. I've seen pictures of D. brevifolia popping up everywhere in places like Houston, Corpus, and deep east Texas around this time. My current working theory is that due to Van Zandt county being both more northerly and westerly, the temperatures are still too low and weather still too dry for any of the seeds scattered in fall to sprout. I'll return back in spring to collect herbarium specimens for the UT Austin collection, and potentially collect some seeds to introduce to cultivation. Hopefully, the next trip turns out fruitful, as the most rewarding part of this one was the delicious Popeye's Spicy Chicken Sanwhich I had for lunch.