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Butterwort

Ruth Taylor (June)



There are lots of Butterwort species found around the world and most live in alkaline soils, but this species found in the Europe and North America has adapted to grow in acidic soils.

Butterworts are carnivorous plants that digest small insect like midges to supplement the poor nutrient supply in the boggy acidic soil they live in.
The leaves of the plant are very sticky. Insects stick to the leaves and are digested over time by the plant. Butterworts also produce a strong bactericide which prevents insects from rotting while they are being digested and, if insects are in short supply, they can also digest pollen grains.

The picture shows the pretty purple flower on its long stalk which prevents pollinating insects from getting stuck on the leaves.

The name Butterwort probably comes from the fact that Butterwort leaves were once used to curdle milk and form a buttermilk-like fermented milk product called filmjolk in Sweden and tjukkmjolk in Norway.






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