Pinguicula species

Pinguicula vulgaris

     The homely Common butterworth, Pinguicula vulgaris, has been known to common people for centuries, and Simon Paulli mentions Danish names for it in 1648, but the genus is first mentioned in 1875 by Charles Darwin as a carnivore. Pinguicula vulgaris is also found on the Faroe Islands and in Greenland, where on the west side it reaches up to 71°25′ and on the east side to 73°10′. It grows on moist soil and often in more nutrient-rich places than other carnivorous plants. It flowers in June-July. In late summer, the trap leaves wither, and a winter bud forms centrally in the rosette (See under heterophylly).

                          Pinguicula moranensis

      Pinuicula moranensis is native to Mexico and Guatemala, where most butterwort species grow. The leaves of the summer rosette are flat, inverted egg-shaped and up to 13 cm long and studded with mucus-secreting glandular hairs. The leaves of the winter rosette are no more than 5 cm long, fleshy, finely hairy, but without mucus and enzyme-secreting glandular hairs. The flowers vary somewhat in shape and color from red to blue-violet. They are up to 5 cm long with an up to 3 cm long backward-facing spur filled with nectar. The flower stalks can be up to 25 cm long, and like the leaves, they are covered with glandular hairs. It prefers moist pine and oak forests and, like other carnivorous plants, does well on nutrient-poor ground. The roots serve primarily for anchoring. It can also grow as an epiphyte. It is often seen in the trade, and there are at least half a dozen varieties.

Note the glandular hairs in profile at the top left.

Pinguicula lusitanica

     In westernmost Europe there are, among other things, P. lusitanica in acid bogs and other wetlands. It has 5-12 rarely over 25 mm long leaves with strongly rolled edges. It overwinters as a rosette. The flowers are approx. 10 mm large, pink-light violet with a yellow throat and a short spur, max 4 mm.

Pinguicula grandiflora

     I have not come across Pinguicula grandiflora in the wild, but then it is nice that it is found on stamps. It also grows in acid bogs and other wetlands in western Europe. P. grandiflora has 5-8 leaves 3-6 cm long. In Europe, it has the largest flowers of the genus, with a 3±0.5 cm long corolla and a up to 14 mm long spore. It overwinters with a winter bud like P. vulgaris.


More species are shown under the Danish menu Carnivori på frimærker.

H. S. Heide-Jørgensen, Nov. 2020. Translated jan. 2024.

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