gypsicola Brandegee (1911)
botanist C. A. Purpus found in 1910 close to a gypsum quarry named
San Rafael", located in the Mexican State of San Luis Potosí (east of
the town of San Luis Potosí), some butterwort specimen, that he shipped
Europe. In 1911 T. S. Brandegee then described the plants
as a new species under the name P. gypsicola. At
that time this was
the only known butterwort species that was occuring on gypsum. For a
long period all
plants grown in Europe (including the plants at Kew Botanical Garden)
originated from this collection. Only at the end of the 1980s new
of P. gypsicola were collected at different
locations, so genetic
diversity could be increased in cultivation.
typical habitat of
P. gypsicola are gypsum hills. The
plants grow either in crevices of crystalline gypsum or in thin layers
of eroded gypsum soil. The plants prefer to grow on the more shaded
hill sides facing north or north-west, as there the water evaporation
of the soil is less and the temperatures are lower. Sometines plants
can also be found in shady places in small canyons formed in the gypsum
During the dry season from December until June the habitat is almost
completely dried out and plants get humidity only from morning fogs.
the period from August to November, there is more regular rainfall. It
seems that the gypsum itself also stores the
humidity from the air, that the plants can also profit from.
The accompanying vegetation at the habitat are
xerophytic shrubs, diverse Hechtia species,
Agave stricta, different cacti as well
cuspidata. At some locations also the annual
butterwort P. takakii does occur.
does form a winter rosette during the dry season. Thze compact rosette
consist of 60 to 80 spatulate, obtuse non-carnivorous winter leaves,
that reach a length of 1,5 cm lang and are at the widest point
to 4 mm. The base of the winter leaves are covered with white,
laterally protruding hair.
With increasing humidity, from begin of July on,
the plants start
to form summer leaves. The summer rosette consists of up to 30 leaves.
The first summer leaves are only some centimeter long and broad at the
base, then the leaves can reach a length of 8 cm, while at the leaf
base they are only 8 mm wide. The shape of the summer leaves is
elongated-lanceolate. The upper side of the leaf is densely covered
with gland bearing hair. The leaf colour can vary between green and
flowering period of P. gypsicola occurs between
June and November (depending on the soil humidity, flowering can begin
also later). Flowers do appear with the formation of the first summer
leaves. It is not a rare case that the number of flower scape per plant
can reach 10 per season. The flower scape is densely covered with gland
bearing hair and can reach a length of 17 cm, but most of the flower
scapes are more between 8 and 12 cm long.
corolla is divided in an upper and a lower lip. The petals do have a
violet to purple colour. The petals are lanceolate and the
tip of the petal is mostly rounded. Around the entrance of the corolla
tube the upper side of the petals show a dark violet spot or dark
violet veins. The middle lobe of the lower lip shows a white spot
variable in size and form. The diameter of the corolla is between 2 and
2,5 cm. The spur is with up to 2,5 cm quite long and pointed at the
For the cultivation of P.
gypsicola it is recommended to keep the substrate not to wet,
even in summer, to avoid rotting of the roots, that can continue with
also the leaves and then the plants will die. As soon as the first
winter leaves are formed, watering of the plants should be stopped and
the substrate should be kept dry over winter. P. gypsicola
need necessarily gypsum a substrate for cultiuvation. This species
seems to adapt well to quite a range of different substrates and pH
does not seem to be important, but a good aeration of the roots seems
to be important ofr a long term success in cultivation.