Carnivorous plants

Lentibularia (Utricularia australis)

The Utricularia australis is a carnivorous plant with quite different characteristics that have most of their sisters. Unlike the Sarracenia, for example, or the Dionaea, it lives in fresh water, floating on its surface.

In fact, it is not usually found easily, except when its beautiful yellow flowers sprout. But being small in size, it can be grown in small containers, something that is certainly very interesting when you don’t have much space.

Origin and characteristics of Utricularia australis

Image – Wikimedia/ Stefan.lefnaer

It is a floating aquatic carnivore belonging to the genus Utricularia popularly known as lentibularia, native to Europe, tropical and temperate Asia, central and southern Africa, Australia and the North Island of New Zealand. In Spain you will find it distributed throughout almost the entire peninsula, especially towards the north of it. Its habitat is peat bogs and stagnant-sweet waters.

It develops upright stems up to 45 centimeters in length, from which leaves of about 4 centimeters sprout with alternate arrangement. Some of them have 2-5 mm vesicles, which are nothing more than traps for capturing very small animals, such as larvae.

It blooms in spring and summer. The flowers are hermaphroditic, zygomorphic, and appear grouped in clusters of 3, 5 or 9 yellow flowers. The corolla measures between 13 and 18 millimeters, and has five welded petals that form a tube and two lips. In androecium it is made up of two stamens inserted into said tube. The fruit are small capsules that contain seeds that are also small in size.

As a curiosity, to say that the species was described by Robert Brown, a Scottish doctor, surgeon and botanist in the year 1810. This fact was published in Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen, a book that described more than 2040 species of plants indigenous to Australia.

What are the care that must be provided?

Keeping a Utricularia australis healthy is not very difficult. Being aquatic, it is impossible for problems to arise due to irrigation, since it is non-existent . But it is important to take into account some things so that it grows well. They are as follows:

Location

  • Inside: in an aquarium or in a container without holes with fresh, rain or distilled water. It must be placed in a bright area, so it is advisable to get a lamp for plants to help it grow, like the one they sell here.
  • Outside: in a pond or similar, in full sun. It can live with other aquatic ones, as long as they are small and non-invasive.

Irrigation

As it is a carnivorous plant that lives in waterways, it can be grown in aquariums, ponds or the like. It is also interesting to have it in a pot, as long as a plate is placed under it and it is watered frequently with distilled or rain water.

Substratum

As a substrate, it is advisable to use blond peat mixed with perlite in equal parts. In case of growing it in an aquarium or pond, plant it in a pot for aquatic plants with this substrate, and then wrap what is the earth and the pot with some mosquito net-type cloth or a piece of resistant plastic net before introducing it in the Water.

Subscriber

Image – Wikimedia/ Stefan.lefnaer

There is no need to fertilize carnivorous plants. These have traps that serve to capture their prey. In the specific case of Utricularia australis, it has very small vesicle-like traps that capture tiny prey that pass near them.

Multiplication

Lentibularia is a carnivore that multiplies by seeds in spring-summer. To do this, they must be sown in pots with blond peat and kept moist with distilled water, osmosis or rain.

Its growth is quite slow, so do not worry if you see that it takes a few years to bloom. Keep it in a bright and well watered area, and it will be healthy, which in the end is the main thing.

Transplant

In spring, when the minimum temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius, it will be a good time to plant it in the aquarium, pond or container.

Plagues and diseases

It is a plant very resistant to pests and diseases, but if it is grown outside in a pot, be careful with snails and slugs. These animals are eaters of green leaves and stems, so do not hesitate to protect your Utricularia australis, for example keeping it indoors during the rainy season, or wrapped in mosquito netting as a greenhouse. You can also put into practice the remedies that we tell you here:

Related article:How to remove snails from the garden or orchard

Rusticity

Lentibularia is resistant to cold well, but frost hurts it. To avoid this, the temperature should never drop below 0 degrees, although if they do, it will only hold up to -2ºC for a short time.

Image – Wikimedia/ Hugues TINGUY

And with this we are done. What do you think of Utricularia vulgaris ? It is an easy plant to care for with very pretty flowers, don’t you think?

Related posts

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Botón volver arriba