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butterwort

What’s Up – ButterwortPosted: June 30, 2012

By Larry Halverson/Friends of Kootenay                

This pretty violet-purple flower is carnivorous! So I was very careful when taking its picture. Actually I was in no harm but if a small insect should land or try crossing one of its leaves it would be deadly.

Butterworts grow in poor mineral soils, so they digest insects to supplement needed nutrients, particularly nitrogen. They capture their prey using a fly paper approach. Insects, which are attracted to the plant become stuck in the leaf’s sticky coating. Then they are “eaten” by digestive enzymes.

A good spot to see Butterworts in Kootenay National Park is in the wet areas along the highway at Numa Flats. The area is a real mine field for insects.

If you are into it you can look for subspecies of Butterworts see BC’s EFlora Atlas.

Above image: Butterwort flowers bloom into July but the plant is still recognizable without flowers by its unique leaves. Photo by Larry Halverson

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