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Genlisea aurea acting weard.


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Hello everyone,

my G. aurea is acting verry weard. He have gelly on its leafs, and this gelly is almoust impossible to remove. Its on genlisea for verry long time, and it do not look it's uncomfortable to plant. I do not know what is it... If anyone had simmular problem, please let me know.

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This is absolutely NORMAL for this species and is always present in wild plants. If they didn't have the jelly, THEN I would be worried -- worried especially that it wasn't true G.aurea. I discussed its function in my CPN article about this species a few years ago.


Fernando Rivadavia

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Here's the article (I'm not sure if it's teh final version though...)


Genlisea aurea St.Hil.

Genlisea aurea St.Hil. (Lentibulariaceae) was discovered and described by the French botanist Auguste de Saint Hilaire in the early 19th century (St.Hil., 1833). This species is endemic to Brazil, where it is widespread on sandstone highlands from the states of Mato Grosso in the west to Bahia in the northeast to Santa Catarina in the southeast (Fromm-Trinta, 1979).

This Genlisea species is a perennial herb typically found at altitudes varying from 550m to 2550m, growing in black humus-rich soil often mixed with sand among grasses in water-logged seepages which usually remain boggy even during the dry season. The compact rosettes are usually covered by a film of cold flowing water and I have even observed specimens growing beneath several centimenters of water in streams.

Genlisea aurea is one of the largest species in the genus Genlisea (Taylor, 1991) and it has unique rosettes made up of dozens of almost linear leaves only about 2mm wide. Although the leaves are usually 5-50mm long, the rosettes are at maximum around 5cm in diameter because only the leaf tips are visible at soil level. The long white petioles are buried underground, arising from a beige stem up to about a centimeter thick and two or three centimeters long.

Genlisea aurea can be found in flower year round, nonetheless it is not so easy to catch flowering specimens in the wild. This is rather strange, considering it is not at all a rare species and large populations are often common. Nevertheless, on a few occasions I have been blessed with the view of grassy fields covered with G.aurea’s large bright-yellow to golden-yellow blooms. What a view!

The flower scapes of G.aurea are very robust and densely covered in both simple and glandular hairs, usually 10-30cm in height, but sometimes surpassing 40cm. Each inflorescence commonlly bears one to three open flowers at its apex, but may produce a total of eleven flowers (Fromm-Trinta, 1979).

At the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park (in northern Goiás state, central Brazil) grow the largest-flowered G.aurea I know, probably with the largest flowers in the genus Genlisea, measuring nearly 3cm in length and over 2cm in width. The flowers of this large form are a spectacularly rich golden-yellow in color and the lower lip is a wide apron – instead of more deeply trilobed as in other locations.

The inverted ‘Y’-shaped passive traps of Genlisea apparently come in two types in most species. As drawn by Studnicka (1996), some traps are short and grow more or less horizontally beneath the soil surface, while others are longer and grow straight downwards. Unfortunately these traps are extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to collect whole in nature. They are very brittle and break exasperatingly easily when you try to wash off the soil around the plants. Fromm-Trinta (1979) recorded traps up to around 10cm in length for G.aurea, measured from herbarium specimens, but I believe this may be highly understimated. As for prey, G.aurea, G.margaretae, and G.violaceae (and thus possibly all Genlisea?) have been recently discovered to be specialized in the capture of protozoans (Barthlott et al., 1998).

Among the Brazilian species of Genlisea, G.pygmaea seems to be the most closely related species to G.aurea. Both have inflorescences densely covered in simple and glandular hairs and the smaller forms of G.aurea are often very similar in flower shape, size and color to larger forms of G.pygmaea – a fact which has often confused me in the field! Other than the overall size of the plants, there are not many characteristics that one can use to separate these two species -- unless one has a microscope handy. Some useful tips in the field are that G.pygmaea usually grows in sandier soils, has fewer, shorter, wider, darker green leaves, flower scapes are a thinner and a darker green (almost black) in color, and the flowers are smaller and narrower.

Other Brazilian Genlisea species that occur south of the Amazon Basin are easily distinguishable from G.aurea. G.repens and G.filiformis both have yellow flowers, but are much smaller in size. Furthermore, G.repens is the only Genlisea species which has elongated underground stems (like most Utricularia) and the small flowers are produced on thin glabrous flower scapes. G.filiformis has even tinier flowers with an obtuse-tipped spur borne on delicate inflorescences that are more or less covered in long glandular hairs only. Finally, G.guianensis, G.violacea, G.uncinata, and G.lobata have purplish to white flowers with an orangish-yellow to whitish patch at the base of the lower lip. Furthermore, the latter three taxa have pedicels that become pendulous when in fruit (versus erect) and the seed capsules split into two longitudinal valves (versus circumscissile) (Taylor, 1991).

When not in flower, G.aurea is the easiest Genlisea species to recognize in Brazil, because of its large rosettes composed by dozens of narrow leaves covered by a thick layer of gelatinous transparent mucilage -- especially in shady habitats. This mucilage is also usually present to a lesser degree in G.pygmaea. After much brainstorming, I still do not know what the function of this mucilage is. Protection against fires seem unlikely since the G.aurea habitats are usually wet year round and thus free from the threat of fires – while G.pygmaea, being an annual, is usually dead by the time the dry season fires begin. Furthermore, the small rhizome of G.aurea is always safely protected from fires by its position a few centimeters below the soil surface. All I can think of is that this mucilage serves as a mechanical or chemical barrier against predation from snails or other small invertebrates.

Whenever botanizing in Brazil I always like to herborize specimens of the CPs I find. But special care is needed to herborize G.aurea since the numerous delicate leaves become tightly glued to the newspaper used for herborization while the mucilage dries, making the rosettes nearly impossible to pry off afterwards. A technique I’ve developed to minimize this problem is to, before herborizing, press and wipe the G.aurea rosettes several times against my clothes. This helps remove most of the mucilage and decreases the number of leaves which remain glued to the paper in the end. And no damage is done to your clothes either, in case you’re wondering...

I have never been able to keep G.aurea in cultivation for more than a year. In fact these picky plants would usually rot soon after being brought from the wild -- if not during the long trip from its natural habitat to my hometown São Paulo. Unfortunately the seeds of this species have so far proved nearly impossible to germinate in cultivation. I have never been able to germinate any myself and have only heard of a few success reports among friends around the world. The only mature G.aurea in cultivation I know of are growing at the Bonn Botanic Garden in Germany -- which I saw during the ’98 ICPS Conference. Unfortunately they’re cultivating the most unattractive of all G.aurea: a small form with pale-yellow flowers native to the Diamantina area of Minas Gerais state.


1.) Barthlott, W., Porembski, S., Fischer, E., and Gemmel, B. 1998. First Protozoa-Trapping Plant Found. Nature, 392: 447.

2.) Fromm-Trinta, E. 1979. Revisão das Espécies do Gênero Genlisea St.Hil. (Lentibulariaceae) das Regiões Sudeste e Sul do Brasil. Rodriguésia, Rio de Janeiro 31/49: 17-139.

3.) Saint-Hilaire, A. de. 1833. Voyage dans le District du Diamans du Brésil 2: 428-432.

4.) Studnicka, M. 1996. Several Ecophysiological observations in Genlisea. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 25: 14-16.

5.) Taylor, P. 1991. The Genus Genlisea. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 20: 20-26.

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Hey Tamlin,

>You can add G. pygmaea and G. filiformis to the gluey species as well.

G.pygmaea certainly does have the mucilage on its leaves (actually, I'm in doubt as to the taxonomy of this species, the true G.pygmaea might be a smaller plant without mucilage). But I sure don't remember having ever seen G.filiformis with mucilage on the leaves. You might have the wrong plant Tamlin...

>It is a remarkable process, and the gel can actually entend to cover the surface of the medium the plants grow in.


>My best results with seed came from the G. violacea seed gathered in 2002 in Diamantina by you and Robert, and that was probably 4 month old or more by the time I managed to secure some. So, it appears viability drops off somewhere within the year of it's harvest

Seeds of the G.violacea group (Section Tayloria) seem to germinate best than the rest of the S.American species (mostly yellow-flowered, all belonging to Section Genlisea).

>G. aurea in particular seems sensitive in my cultivation, and prospers best for me when routinely irrigated with cold pure water.

Sounds like their natural habitats around cold natural springs.

>My plants will never see 5 cm though, that's a safe bet!


>The plants flowered this season and did set seed unassisted.

Cool! Congrats! How old are they? How about some pics?

Take Care,

Fernando Rivadavia

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Hello Tamlin,

I get some informations from one person about G. filiformis and G. aurea. This person told me, that there is a mystake, and many persons have G. aurea as G. filiformis. It is possible, that you might have seeds from person which was in mystake.

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