Butterwort – Pinguicula
Butterworts are the carnivorous plant equivalent of flypaper. Commonly referred to as “pings” from their scientific name Pinguicula, this name means “little greasy one” in Latin. It is derived from their broad green leaves that are covered with tiny glandular hairs that secrete sticky mucilage, greasy to the touch. These drops of mucilage cause the leaves to shimmer in light – attracting peckish insects.
Most are relatively easy to grow, and may make great windowsill candidates. Butterworts exhibit some variation between different species. For example, some produce red-tinted leaves in areas of high sunlight. Other varieties curl their leaves when they trap insects
Biology of a Butterwort
Butterworts are a handsome, deceptively simple carnivorous plants. The surface of the leaves are on double duty – handling both trapping and digesting prey through a series of glands, and limited movement. Most are light shades of green, but some turn pink in bright conditions – a color that may help attract prey. Read on for details:
Sub-soil biology and requirements
Butterwort roots are usually sparse and shallow. However, the plants themselves are abundant and adaptable, growing in a great number of places from tropical countries to the Arctic. In general, they can be divided into three main categories, temperate Pinguicula, warm temperate Pinguicula, and tropical Pinguicula, which we’ll cover below.
The flashiest thing about Butterworts are their vibrant, colorful flowers. During respective flowering seasons, they send up volleys of individual flowers topping narrow stalks. If planted in close proximity, you will get a beautiful sea of violet, purple, pink, red, white, yellow and green flowers.
Where to find Butterworts in the wild
Pinguicula species number nearly 100, and grow in diverse locals around the planet. Home ranges from the Arctic Circle down through Siberia, Europe, and North America. They max out in Mexico, where you’ll find the most numerous and grand species. Some species continue down through South America.