Butterwort - Pinguicula
Pinguicula is a genus of most-uncarnivorous-looking, yet quite carnivorous plants. The basic architectural plan of most species in the genus is that of a little ground-hugging rosette of succulent leaves. Often the leaves have a glossy, pearly, opalescent character to them. Flowers--often spectacularly pretty--are produced from the center of the rosette, and nod singly from the top of tall, tender stalks. How can this sweet little thing be a carnivore?
NOTE: This product can only be shipped within Ireland and the UK
Their arthropodicidal nature becomes clear only when you look very closely at the leaves. For there, adhering to the glandular surface of the leaf, are countless tiny little gnats and other minute arthropods. They are not only stuck to the leaf---they are drowned in moist pools of slime, and are indeed being digested. How horrible!
The details are terrifying. The leaves sometimes emit a faintly fungal scent, perhaps to attract prey. The leaf surfaces have two types of glands: stalked and sessile. The stalked glands are always ready to capture prey, by means of the sticky droplet of goo that sits on its top. The stalked gland sits on top of a reservoir cell that is filled with digestive enzymes. When stimulated, the reservoir cell dumps its contents through the stalked gland, covering the captured prey. This does not happen fast enough to help capture the prey, but it does improve the digestion. The sessile glands also release fluid that is loaded with digestive enzymes, possibly doing the bulk of the digestion. The reservoir cells in the sessile glands do not recharge---once they exude their digestive fluids, they are no longer operative.
Using this powerful set of tools, these plants often manage to capture surprisingly large prey - large flies (nearly 1 cm in length) or even craneflies (Tipulidae).
For the most part, there is no motion in the leaves. However, the leaves do often dimple slightly underneath captured prey, possibly to create a little pool of fluid to aid in digestion. Also, and especially on temperate species, the leaves roll up on the edges. A few theories have been proposed to explain this, and perhaps two of the most intriguing are that the leaves may be curling up to keep marauding ants from stealing the captured prey, or to create a kind of tubelike structure along the edges of the leaves so that capillary action spreads the nutrient-rich bug juices over a larger amount of leaf area, enhancing nutrient absorption.
What you need to know
- Size: Supplied in 12cm pot
Temporarily Out Of Stock