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Butterwort - an insect eater

Butterwort - an insect eater
Photo Information
Copyright: Amelia Heath (Amelia) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 26 W: 0 N: 93] (310)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-01
Categories: Flowers
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-07-14 0:51
Viewed: 3561
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Butterwort, Pinguicula vulagris, is another herbaceous, insectivorous plant, which I found growing near sundew and sphagnum, in moist/boggy conditions. The flower stem grows from a rosette of yellowish green leaves, which makes the plant quite distinctive, even when it isn't flowering. Although the Latin name implies 'common' butterwort, I think that this is quite a rare species in Norway, and I have only found it growing in one place so far.

The leaves are covered in enzyme secreting glands that aid in the digestion of small insects, and are very sticky, hence it was difficult to remove the bits of dead grass etc. from the surface. When they are stimulated by the struggling movements of small insects, the leaves roll inwards, thus preventing the escape of the prey. This carnivorous activity supplements the minerals that butterworts obtain from the nutrient poor environment.

The solitary spurred flowers are generally purple, as shown in this example, but they can be paler than this, and each one has a 3-lobed upper lip and 2-lobed lower lip. In this example the leafless flower stalk was about 7-10cm long.

The genus name, Pinguicula, derives from the Latin word pinguis, meaning 'fat', as the leaves have a greasy or buttery feel, and undoubtedly this is where the common English name comes from also.

Additionally, butterwort leaves were used to curdle milk and form a buttermilk-like fermented milk product called tjukkmjølk in Norway. I cannot imagine what it tasted like!

Butterworts also produce a strong bactericide which prevents insects from rotting while they are being digested. This property has long been known by northern Europeans, who applied butterwort leaves to the sores of cattle to promote healing. The suffix 'wort' was often used in the names of herbs and plants that had medicinal uses.

This little marshy area, so near the sea, is a botanist's delight. The quality of the photo would have been much improved using a dedicated macro lens.

Family: Lentibulariaceae – Bladderwort family
Genus: Pinguicula L. – butterwort
Species: Pinguicula vulgaris L.

lousat, Argus, Csabesz68, uleko, Dis. Ac., pnieuwoudt, anemone has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Gert-Paassen: HolidaysAmelia 1 07-25 15:25
To lousat: Insectivorous plants in NorwayAmelia 1 07-15 02:17
To Argus: FocusAmelia 1 07-15 01:32
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-07-14 1:39]

Hi Amelia
What a great shot of this lovely insectivorous plant.
Details and colors are perfect!
Congratulation for this beauty!

Hi Amelia,I never thought to find insectivorous plants in Norway.What a nice surprise and what a beautifull pic,perfect choice of point of view and excellents sharpness and colors.Very interesting work,,thanks for share,have a nice day,LUCIANO

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-07-14 2:53]
  • [+]

Hej Amelia,
Butterworts are tricky species to photograph if one is to have both the flower and the leaves in focus.
You have managed to capture one that is nearly all in focus with good sharpness and colours. A specimen with a short flowering stem like this one does help. The lighting and natural BG are good too in this pleasing composition.
Well done and thanks,
Med vänliga hälsningar,

Hi Amelia!
I like it a lot! You've got good eyes to find this beauty! Exceptional, natural colors, good light conditions, perfect POV. Though you have some oof areas.
Overall is a very good photo!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-07-15 11:01]

Hello Amelia,
Where we live we have fairly easy access to a marshland where Butterwort thrives but it's so hard to get a decent capture showing flower and leaves in one! You did very well here with the pretty flower and insect-catching leaves very nicely in focus. Natural colours too and well composed!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-07-18 5:20]

Hello Amelia,
such a unique and strange flower and plant. This is quite exciting and would say an orchid instead. The purple flower is well captured with seen tiny hairs surrounding the petals.
You have used good incoming light to emohasis on beauty and sharpness.
A lively composition.


Hello Amelia,

from my hollydayadress writing to you i am jealous otf this photo.
This specie are on the Red list in Belgium and the Netherlands and one of the flower i Still not haven't found yet and so not photoograped.
Good pov, sharpness and details, use of light.

You learning very fast and beginner absolute not.
I think if you just begun you have it in to be a good photographer.


Hi Amelia,

A very intersting plant! I have never seen one before - have only seen some of the native sundews (Droseraceae) in the Cape fynbos.
Good detail and shaprness on the flower

Hi Amelia.
Fantastic macro. Wonderful exposure, details and composition are splendid.
Best regards

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