Pinguicula alpina

(cliquer sur le drapeau pour la version :  )

     go to : Home  index of species                 


Family : Lentibulariaceae

Genus : Pinguicula

Name : Pinguicula alpina

Sub-classification (Casper) : link

Publication : Linnee, in Spec. pl. ed. 1 (1753) 17.

DESCRIPTION : (in publication)

Perennis. Rhizoma simplex +/- 10 - 20 mm longum radicibus adventitiis numerosis funiformibus fuscoluteis. Folia 5 - 8 radicalia rosulata sessilia elliptico-oblonga vel lanceolato-oblongo obtusa basin versus angustata integerrima margine involuta superne glanduloso-viscosa glandulis sessilibus dense et glandulis stipitatis modice dense utrimque nervi mediani pilis subulatis longis vestita (15) 25 - 45 (60) mm longa +/- 8 - 14 mm lata flavo-virentia. Hibernacula; gemmae. Pedicelli 1 - 8 (13) erecti glabriusculi (30) 50 - 110 (12) mm alti uniflori. Flores mediocres (8) 10 - 16 (21) mm longi (calcari incluso). Calyx bilabiatus viridis glabriusculus; labium superum tridentatum vel crenato-dentatum dentis trianguli acutis vel rotundatis; labium inferum bilobum lobis usque ad 2/3 longitudinis connatis acutis vel subrotundatis. Corolla bilabiata albida in fauce luteo maculata extus glandulis stipitatis singularibus obsita; labium superum bilobum lobis late rotundatis; labium inferum lobis inaequalibus supero multo maius intermedio apice rotundato vel truncato vel subemarginato lateralibus multo maiore basi cum palato bipartito vel (rarius) uniformi. Tubus latus brevis pilosus pilis longis cylindrico-subulatis retro-conversis in striis triabus ordinatis. Calcar tubo limboque corollae multo brevius late conicum obtusum vel plus minusve acutum subincurvum (1) 2 - 3 (5) mm longum virescens vel aurantiacum intus glandulis stipitatis +/- dense vestitum. Stamina +/- 2.5 mm longa; antherae ellipsoidea; pollen (5) 6 - 7 (8) colporatum. Ovarium subglobosum glandulis stipitatis disperse obsitum. Stigma bilabiatum labio infero maximo flabelliformi superne papilloso. Capsula ovoideo-oblonga acuminata erecta calycem multum superans 6 - 9 mm longa 2 - 3 mm lata. Semina scobiformia (0.6) 0.7 - 0.9 (1.0) mm longa (0.16) 0.20 - 0.24 (0.28) mm late laete ferruginea. 


Chromosata 2n = 32 


Translation :


- soon -  


Pinguicula alpina is the only temperate Pinguicula that keeps his roots on the winter hibernacula. The size of the flower is rather constant but the yellow spots in the middle of the lower corolla lobe are highly variable in size and form. I found on Mont Joly a green form that remains green even in full sun. (See picture below)

Localisation / Map (click on the map for better localisation of the depicted specimen below) 

Pinguicula alpina is distributed in (sub)alpine and subarctic regions of all higher mountain chains of Eurasia (Pyrenees, alps, Karpates...), from sea level (NW Siberia) up to 2600 m in the Alps and 4100 m in the Himalayas. Pinguicula alpina is common in Alps and more rarely elsewhere. 

(see Distribution map from Casper - soon -). 




Pinguicula alpina grows in all kind of soils : bogs, on springy slopes and other wet places including wet bluffs and rocks. Habitats may vary from shady to full sun exposition. Pinguicula alpina can be found on calcareous substratum but also on silicate substratum (associated with Soldanella pusilla and in sphagnum bogs.  

Introduction in culture :

I brought back many seeds from Mont Joly. 


(North hemisphere, France near Paris, in a garden - see the map -)    

Life cycle : In spring, the cycle begins by the opening of the winter buds and the production of the first carnivorous leaves. The first leaves are followed by the flowers in summer. New carnivorous leaves are produced during all the season. Near autumn, or earlier, if your conditions are not optimal, the next hibernacula is revealed in the centre of the rosette. Then leaf production stops and the old leaves decay slowly. The plant (reduced now to a small hibernacula) is ready for winter and for the next cycle. 

Media: I use the following media : 1 peat, 2 vermiculite, 1 small sand (for aquarium), 1 fine white sand, 2 pouzzolane (volcanic lava). 

Pot : big plastic box.

Cultivation : The long term cultivation of temperate Pinguicula is difficult : If the summer growing conditions are not optimal, the plants will form very weak hibernacula which easily rot. 

Optimal summer growing conditions are : good air humidity, cool temperature and UV lights.

I grow my plants in my garden all the year with full sun all the time.  


Multiplication : By seeds spread around the plants. I don't use the gemmae produced around winter hibernacula because they remain connected with the mother plant (remember that the plant has perenial roots). 




 PICTURES: (click to enlarge)


Mont Joly

Photo : M.Gidon

On the road to Mont Joly, you have a wonderful panoramic view on the Mont-Blanc, the highest mountain in France (if the weather is not cloudy !).

Photo : E.Partrat


Pinguicula alpina in habitat on Mont Joly, the moss around the plants is wet. 

Photo : E.Partrat 

- July 1998 -

This is a rare form of Pinguicula alpina 'green leaves' with at a distancy only of 5 cm, a Pinguicula alpina totally red. The two plants were in full sun !. At Mont Joly, I counted about 2% of the plants with green leaves, 20% with red leaves and 78% with light red (orange) leaves like in the previous picture. 

Photo : E.Partrat 

- July 1998 -

View of my growing box at home, plants are in full sun all the time.

Photo : E.Partrat 

- May 2001-

Each year, I have some flowers and seeds of Pinguicula alpina

Photo : E.Partrat 

- May 2001-


Soldanella pusilla


This image in its original context, on the page :


Photo : Trond Steen

More pictures of P. alpina in habitat can be seen in the article area in the article of Andrea Guipe.

The following pictures are not from Mont Joly.  


A flower of P. alpina


Photo : Aymeric Roccia 

- May 2008-




P. alpina flowering in habitat. The brown colour inside the corolla is pollen.


Photo : Aymeric Roccia 

- May 2008-




A flower of P. alpina. You can see the extensions of the central yellow task towards the end of the central lobe.


Photo : Aymeric Roccia 

- May 2008-




A flower of P. alpina. You can see the extensions of the central yellow task towards the end of the central lobe.



Photo : Aymeric Roccia 

- May 2008-




A flower of P. alpina without yellow spots


Photo : Aymeric Roccia 

- May 2008-