BUTTERWORT Pinguicula moranensis
Pinguicula moranensis is a perennial rosette-forming insectivorous herb native to Mexico and Guatemala. A species of butterwort, it forms summer rosettes of flat, succulent leaves up to 10 centimeters (4 in) long, which are covered in mucilaginous (sticky) glands that attract, trap, and digest arthropod prey. Nutrients derived from the prey are used to supplement the nutrient-poor substrate that the plant grows in. Single pink, purple, or violet flowers appear twice a year on upright stalks up to 25 centimeters long.
P. moranensis is seasonally dimorphic, in that it undergoes two distinct growth habits throughout the year. During the summer when rain and insect prey are most plentiful, the plant forms a ground hugging rosette composed of 6–8 generally obovate leaves, each up to 95 millimeters (3¾ in) long. These leaves are carnivorous, having a large surface area densely covered with stalked mucilaginous glands with which they attract, trap, and digest arthropod prey, most commonly flies. These so-called "summer leaves" are replaced by "winter rosettes" of small, glandless succulent leaves with the onset of the dry season in October. This protective winter rosette allows the plant to undergo winter dormancy until the first rains begin in May. Flowers born singly on upright 10–25 centimeters (4–10 in.) peduncles emerge twice during the year (from the summer rosette and again from the winter rosette), a feature rare among the Mexican species. In the summer these appear in June, peak in August and September, and disappear with the return to the winter rosette in October or November.
P. moranensis is the most widely distributed member of the Section Orcheosanthus. It is also the most common and widely distributed Pinguicula species in Mexico, being found in all the major mountain ranges.
P. moranensis most often grows in oak, pine-oak, or temperate montane woodlands. However, its distribution penetrates into tropical forests and xerophytic shrublands, as well as in gorges and canyon walls with high environmental humidity. P. moranensis prefers humid and shady environments, such as slopes by streams, gullies, or road cuts, or among leaf litter in sandy soil high in organic matter. Its ability to gather nutrients from the arthropod prey it catches allows it to grow in low-nutrient environments where other plants would usually out-compete it. As a result, it is often found in disturbed areas or on steep cliffs or hillsides. Since its roots do little more than provide anchorage, the plant requires little or no soil, and dense clusters can be found clinging onto boulders, moss or crags in rock faces, or even epiphytically on tree trunks. Common companion plants include mosses, Selaginella, ferns and other herbaceous plants, as well as canopy trees such as pines and oaks.
P. moranensis is one of the most popular and commonly cultivated Pinguicula, in part due to its large size, large and pretty flowers, and the ease with which it can be grown as a container plant. Most growers use an open soil mix composed of some combination of washed sand, perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, gypsum and/or decomposed granite. Soil should be kept well drained, but watered regularly with distilled water in the summer and only very rarely once the plant enters its winter rosette. The species grows readily on well-lit windowsills, under fluorescent lights, or in warm to hot greenhouses.
Plants are hardy outdoors in zones 10 and 11, or grow indoors as a houseplant, or in a greenhouse.
Note: These seeds are extremely tiny! It's just how they naturally are. Reading glasses are recommended to aid with seeing them, even for those who don't normally require glasses to read. The seeds are shipped in either a wax envelope, or folder within a small paper. Open carefully, and sprinkle onto the growing medium. Do not bury the seeds. Germination information is below.
Seeds per pack: 5
Germination: Use a mix of 50% peat moss, and 50% sand or perlite. As with many perennial seeds, these seeds benefit from a period of moist cold to help them begin to grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Place on the surface of your growing medium, and water, do not bury them. Then place them in a refrigerator for 5-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container back at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout several weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period. They require some patience, but are well worth the effort!