Common Name: Butterwort
Scientific Name: Pinguicula
Origin: Native to Mexico and Guatemala, distributed worldwide in temperate regions.
Bloom time: Summer
Like the Venus Fly Trap and White Pitcher Plants in the Conservation Garden, Butterwort is carnivorous.
In Latin, Pinguicula means “little greasy one” because the leaves look and feel greasy. The greasy substance is actually a sticky trap for small insects like fruit flies and gnats.
The small insects could be attracted to the shiny appearance of the leaves or the musty smell. Prey won't realize until they land that the leaves are inescapably sticky, and once stuck, the plant will start to secrete digestive juices that quickly dissolve the insect. The leaves then reabsorb the tasty bug slime.
These dangerous "summer leaves" are replaced by succulent leaves in the fall, which also allows the plant to go dormant until spring. Pinguicula flower with the emergence of seasonal leaves.