Thursday, February 17, 2011
This neat little Mexican butterwort is flowering in the UConn greenhouses right now. Mexico is a hotspot of butterwort diversity, with about 25 different species. Pinguicula ehlersiae, like the majority of Mexican species in the genus, shows strongly seasonal growth. During the summer, when it tends to be rainy and humid in its habitat, it produces large, flat leaves that catch small insects in sticky secretions. In winter, P. ehlersiae grows the stubby, succulent leaves seen here, and can withstand a certain amount of drought. One usually thinks of carnivorous plants like the butterworts as being denizens of bogs and other wet places, but some Mexican Pinguicula grow right next to cacti, agaves, and other familiar succulent plants.