P. agnata

Oliver Gluch's
World of Carnivorous Plants

"What you always wanted to know about butterworts"


P. filifolia
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Today more than 100 different species are known to the genus Pinguicula.

There exist several growth types. Distinctive features are the formation of different leaf types within the annual growth cycle. The different growth types reflect adaptation of different species through evolution to different habitats and climates.
Generally butterwort species can be divided into 2 groups:

The first group is called temperate growth type. This group is characterized by the fact that due to cold temperatures plant growth ends with formation of a winter bud (hibernaculum). If the plants form beside the leaves of the winter bud only one additional set of leaves during the growing season, they belong to the temperate-heterophyllous growth type. Whereas the generative and vegetative rosettes consist of different leaf forms, plants belong to the temperate-anisophyllous growth type. Very interesting is the fact that butterwort species from the Andean region down to Cape Horn do not form a winter bud during the cold winter period. This leads to the conclusion that they have not lost their "tropical heritage" and suggests that the origin of Pinguicula species was the Carribean/Mesoamerican region.

The second group of plants is characterized by a growth cycle the whole year around (tropical growth type). When climate conditions do not vary a lot there is only a formation of one single set of leaves (tropical-homophyllous growth type). Is there a winter and summer period, plants can form two sets of leaves. Leaves in the wet summer season have carnivorous characteristics, while in the more dry and cool winter period leaves are small, succulent and non-carnivorous (tropical-heterophyllous growth type). Also within the tropical-heterophyllous growth type there are species that do form two distinct sets of carnivorous summer leaves and are therefore also anisophyllous.