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Pale Butterwort

Pinguicula lusitanica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lentibulariaceae (Bladderwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Bogs, heathland.

Pink, 2 petals
The small flowers are pale pink with a yellow centre. Flowers have blunt, down-turned spurs.
The fruit is a capsule.
A perennial carnivorous plant with olive green leaves, dying back during winter. The margins of the leaves curl upwards. The basal rosette of leaves have leaves measuring up to 5cm long each.
Other Names:
Lusitanian Butterwort, Portuguese Butterwort, Small Butterwort.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Pinguicula lusitanica, also known as Portuguese butterwort or Lusitanian butterwort, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lentibulariaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in wetland areas, such as marshes, bogs, and along the edges of ponds and streams. P. lusitanica is a carnivorous plant that is adapted to growing in nutrient-poor soil. It captures insects using sticky mucilage on its leaves and derives nutrients from the digested prey. P. lusitanica is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 20 centimeters. It has long, narrow, green leaves and small, purple or pink flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant is valued for its ornamental value and is commonly grown in gardens and parks. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. P. lusitanica is known for its ability to tolerate wet, muddy soil and is resistant to pests and diseases.


Pale Butterwort (Pinguicula lusitanica) is a species of carnivorous plant that belongs to the genus Pinguicula, commonly known as Butterworts. Native to Portugal and Spain, Pale Butterwort is an attractive plant with delicate leaves and beautiful flowers.

The plant's leaves are green and form a rosette shape, with a sticky surface that is used to trap insects. The pale yellow flowers bloom in the spring and summer, and are a sight to behold. The leaves and flowers of Pale Butterwort grow on a long stem that can reach up to 15 cm in height.

Like all Butterworts, Pale Butterwort is carnivorous, meaning it captures and digests insects to supplement its nutrient intake. The sticky surface of the leaves acts as a trap, with the digestive enzymes in the leaves breaking down the insects and absorbing their nutrients. This adaptation allows Pale Butterwort to grow in nutrient-poor soil, such as bogs and fens, where other plants may struggle to survive.

In cultivation, Pale Butterwort requires moist, acidic soil and partial shade. It is best grown in a terrarium or greenhouse, where the high humidity and stable temperature can be maintained. Pale Butterwort can be propagated through division of the rosettes or by removing the plantlets that form on the stem.

Pale Butterwort is a popular plant among carnivorous plant enthusiasts, due to its attractive appearance and fascinating feeding habits. It is also an important species for conservation, as its native habitats are under threat from habitat loss and degradation.

Pale Butterwort is not only a beautiful plant, but also a useful one. In addition to its ornamental value, it has several uses in traditional medicine. The plant's leaves and stems have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin problems, respiratory conditions, and digestive issues.

In Portugal, the leaves of Pale Butterwort are often made into a poultice and applied to the skin to treat burns and wounds. In Spain, the plant is used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma. The plant's leaves are also believed to have mild pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

While there is limited scientific evidence to support the traditional medicinal uses of Pale Butterwort, some studies have shown that the plant does have medicinal properties. For example, research has shown that the plant contains compounds that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

However, it is important to note that self-medication with carnivorous plants is not recommended, as some species can be toxic if ingested. If you are interested in using Pale Butterwort for medicinal purposes, it is best to consult with a qualified healthcare provider.

In terms of horticulture, Pale Butterwort is a relatively easy plant to care for. As a carnivorous plant, it prefers nutrient-poor soil, but it is also important to keep the soil moist. The plant should be grown in a well-draining soil mix, such as a mixture of peat moss, sand, and perlite, and should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Pale Butterwort should be grown in bright, filtered light and should be protected from direct sunlight, which can scorch its delicate leaves. If you are growing Pale Butterwort in a terrarium or greenhouse, it is important to maintain high humidity levels, as the plant prefers a moist environment.

It is also important to keep an eye on the insects that are attracted to the sticky leaves of the plant. While insects are a necessary source of nutrition for Pale Butterwort, it is also important to prevent the plant from becoming overcrowded with pests, which can damage its delicate leaves.

In terms of feeding, Pale Butterwort does not require any additional fertilizer, as it obtains all the nutrients it needs from the insects it captures. However, if you are growing the plant in a terrarium or greenhouse, you may need to supplement its diet with small insects such as flies, mosquitoes, or mites.

In conclusion, Pale Butterwort is a beautiful and fascinating species of carnivorous plant that is easy to care for. With its attractive flowers, delicate leaves, and interesting feeding habits, Pale Butterwort is a great addition to any carnivorous plant collection. Whether you are a seasoned horticulturist or a beginner, Pale Butterwort is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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