Drosera petiolaris R.Br. ex DC. was first collected at Endeavour River, Queensland (Banks and Solander s.n., BM) and was described by Robert Brown (in de Candolle 1824). The type specimen was evidently collected very late in the season and has little fertile material present. The species was later found to be part of a morphologically variable complex distributed across northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Tsang (1980) and Kondo (1984) recognized three additional taxa, namely D. dilatatopetiolaris K.Kondo, D. falconeri K.Kondo & Tsang and D. lanata K.Kondo, and were able to differentiate these from D. petiolaris based on floral and vegetative characters. These species were originally placed in Drosera subgenus Rorella sect. Lasiocephala Planch. (Planchon 1848; Marchant and George 1982) or ser. Lasiocephala (Planch.) Diels (Diels 1906) along with D. fulva Planch. and D. banksii R.Br. ex DC., and later under subg. Lasiocephala (Planch.) Schlauer (Lowrie 2013). In a recent classification, sect. Lasiocephala was included under subgenus Drosera (Seine and Barthlott 1994). A further eight species were subsequently described for the section from across northern Australia (Lowrie 1994, 1996a, 1996b, 1997, 1998, 2013) with a taxonomic key to all 14 species published by Lowrie et al. (2017).
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