Re: Utricularia habitat and culture information wanted

Paul Temple (
Wed, 12 Oct 94 15:24:16 +0100

+---------------------------+ TM From: Paul Temple
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You asked for information about the Utric species you were growing.

I don't intend to say much but thought you might find the following

U. hispida is found from South america to the West Indies, notably in
the Minais Gerais region of Brazil and in the Aripo Savannahs of
Trinidad. At a guess, you almost certainly have plants originating
from collections in Brazil. The only person I know of who has
collected plants or seed from Trinidad is me! (Unfortunately I lost my
U. hispida plants long ago due to accidental exposure to cold.)

The U. hispida found in Trinidad (I do not imply any differences from
those found in Brazil) is particularly interesting for 3 reasons.

Firstly, in the Aripo Savanaahs, this species grows as a solitary
plant. Each plant is found by itself, separated by several inches or
more from the next U. hispida.

Secondly, in Trinidad I have only ever found U. hispida growing on
small mounds of very sandy soil, such that the stlons are in or very
near water but the leaves are entirely above water. This makes the
environment significantly less wet than the rest of the savannah which
is generally covered by water to a depth of between 1 and 30 cm.
Remembering the apparent solitary nature of U. hispida, you therefore
expect and find only one plant per mound!

Thirdly, as stated in Peter Taylor's excellent monograph, U. hispida
(Trinidad) generally grows in association with a grass. I apologise
for forgetting the grass's name but it is a particularly hairy grass
that grows to about 6-12cm tall and is clump-like in habit. In
Trinidad I never found U. hispida without finding the grass next to it.

Oh, I forgot to say, Minais Gerais and the Aripo Savannahs are very
similar being relatively flat and wet. The Aripo Savannahs are very
strange. Each Savannah (there are about 15 that I know of) is a patch
of land covered in grasses and rushes but including other genera
inluding Utrics, various orchids and anything thast tolerates poor
waterlogged soil. Each such very open space is completely surrounded
by samall tress, some 10-20 feet tall and underlying shrubs creating a
tangled scrub of about 4-8 metres width. If you break through the
scrub you enter another Savannah. So what you get is a tpestry of open
grassy areas each sparated from the next by a band of scrub and trees.
The whole collection of Savannahs is also entirely syurrounded by scrub
but to a larger width. There are about 16 species of Utric found in
Trinidad, most of which occur in the Savannahs. At least one Genlisea
species is also reported but I know of no-one living who claims to have
actually seen it (peter Taylor may have but he is now retired from his
work at Kew Gardens.)

Hope this helps. I love Utrics despite having very few now (they were
the first carnivorous plants I grew), but I tend to specialise in
Pinguicula now (I grow approximately 80 different types to date).