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Pale Butterwort: a sticky wicket

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Pale Butterwort: a sticky wicket

I expect most of us are familiar with the insectivorous plants known as sundews but perhaps many do not realise that the bogs and fens of the Dorset heath have other such plants that feed on insects; the butterworts. Although much more common on the moors of northern England, Wales and Scotland butterworts can be found here in Dorset and more so the pale butterwort (Pinguicula lusitanica) which has a preference for acidic conditions, its cousin the common butterwort prefers limestone.

Butterworts have a single small flower on a slender stem that emerges from the centre of a star of olive green, pointed leaves. The leaves are sticky and insects become glued to them. The leaves then curl inwards to cover the victim and the plant dissolves its prey. A bit of a nightmare scenario for the poor insect! The little flower self pollinates and the plant produces hundreds of seeds but this is still not a common plant here despite the seed output. 


 

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This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 1 year 10 months ago

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