Genlisea violacea traps and leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lentibulariaceae
Genus: Genlisea
A.St.-Hil. (1833)


Global distribution of Genlisea

Genlisea (/ɛnlɨˈsə/) is a genus of carnivorous plants also known as corkscrew plants. The 21 species grow in wet terrestrial to semi-aquatic environments distributed throughout Africa and Central and South America. The plants use highly modified underground leaves to attract, trap and digest minute microfaunaca, particularly protozoans. Although suggested a century earlier by Charles Darwin, carnivory in the genus was not proven until 1998.[1]

The generic name Genlisea honors the late Stéphanie Félicité Ducrest de St-Albin, comtesse de Genlis, a French writer and educator.[2]

Two members of the genus, G. margaretae and G. aurea, possess the smallest and second smallest known genomes of all flowering plants.[3]



Genlisea are small herbs, growing from a slender rhizome and bearing two morphologically distinct leaf types - photosynthetic foliage leaves aboveground and highly modified subterranean leaves used to trap prey. The plants lack roots, although the subterranean traps perform many of the functions, such as anchorage and water absorption, normally performed by roots.

Several to many flowers are held by a slender, erect, and often tall inflorescence. As in other members of the bladderwort family, the corolla is fused into a bilobed tube tapering to a spur, with the lower lip of the corolla having three lobes.[2] The calyx is five-lobed, in contrast to Utricularia's three-lobed calyx.[4] Corolla colors are generally yellow or violet to mauve, although a few species are white or cream.[4]

The foliage leaves grow in a hemisphere around the growth point. Depending on species, these leaves are linear to spatulate in shape and 0.5–5 cm (¼–2 in) in length.[2]

The subterranean traps are white, lacking chlorophyll or any other pigmentation. They consist of a cylindrical stalk, widening at some distance below the surface into a hollow bulb-like utricle, and continuing as a hollow cylinder some further distance. At this point the stalk bifurcates into two furrowed spirals, between which the cylinder opening acts as the trap entrance. The furrows of the spiraled trap arms are lined with hairs pointing inward and toward the bifurcation. The hollow cylinder section leading from the bifurcation to the utricle is likewise lined with upward-pointing curved hairs. Some species produce two trap forms, one shorter and one longer, which probably target different prey groups.


Intraspecific determination depends almost wholly upon the inflorescence, particularly upon the indumentum.[4]

Species Subgenus Distribution Species Subgenus Distribution
G. africana Genlisea Africa G. pallida Genlisea Africa
G. angolensis Genlisea Africa G. pygmaea Genlisea South America
G. aurea Genlisea South America G. repens Genlisea South America
G. barthlottii Genlisea Africa G. roraimensis Genlisea South America
G. filiformis Genlisea Africa G. sanariapoana Genlisea South America
G. glabra Genlisea South America G. stapfii Genlisea Africa
G. glandulosissima Genlisea Africa G. subglabra Genlisea Africa
G. guianensis Genlisea South America G. taylorii Genlisea Africa
G. hispidula Genlisea Africa G. uncinata Tayloria South America
G. lobata Tayloria South America G. violacea Tayloria South America
G. margaretae Genlisea Africa, Madagascar

Botanical history

The genus was discovered by Augustin François César Prouvençal de Saint-Hilaire,[2] who in 1833 described four species: G. aurea, G. filiformis, G. pygmaea, and G. violacea.


  1. ^ Barthlott, W., Porembski, S., Fischer, E. & Gemmel, B. (1998). First protozoa-trapping plant found. Nature 392(6675): 447. doi:10.1038/33037
  2. ^ a b c d Claudi-Magnussen, G. (1982). An introduction to Genlisea. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 11(1): 13–15
  3. ^ Greilhuber, J., Borsch, T., Müller, K., Worberg, A., Porembski, S., and Barthlott, W. (2006). Smallest angiosperm genomes found in Lentibulariaceae, with chromosomes of bacterial size. Plant Biology 8: 770–777.
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, P. (1991). The genus Genlisea. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 20(1–2): 20–26.
  • Płachno, B.J., M. Kozieradzka-Kiszkurno & P. Świątek 2007. Functional Ultrastructure of Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae) Digestive Hairs. Annals of Botany 100(2): 195–203. doi:10.1093/aob/mcm109

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Genlisea —   [nach der französischen Schriftstellerin Comtesse de Genlis] die, /... se|en, Gattung der Wasserschlauchgewächse mit etwa 16 Arten in den tropischen Gebieten Afrikas und Südamerikas; wurzellose, mit Ausnahme des Blütenstandes untergetaucht… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Genlisea — Reusenfallen Genlisea violacea Systematik Abteilung: Bedecktsamer (Magnoliophyta) Klasse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Genlisea —   Genlisea …   Wikipedia Español

  • Genlisea — violacea …   Wikipédia en Français

  • genlisea — noun rootless carnivorous swamp plants having at the base of the stem a rosette of foliage and leaves consisting of slender tubes swollen in the middle to form traps; each tube passes into two long spirally twisted arms with stiff hairs •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Genlisea aurea — Systematik Asteriden Euasteriden I Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Genlisea repens — Systematik Asteriden Euasteriden I Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Genlisea subglabra — Blüte Genlisea subglabra Systematik Asteriden Euasteriden I …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Genlisea margaretae — Systematik Asteriden Euasteriden I Ordnung: Lippenblütlerartige (Lamiales) Familie: Wasserschlauchgewächse (Lentibulariaceae) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Genlisea africana — Systematik Asteriden Euasteriden I Ordnung: Lippenblütlerartige (Lamiales) Familie: Wasserschlauchgewächse (Lentibulariaceae) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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