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Genlisea A.St.-Hil.

The genus Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae, Lamiales) consists of 30 species currently recognized (Fleischmann et al. 2017; Fleischmann 2018), which are small annual or (more frequently) perennial herbs, one species is a tuberous geophyte (Rivadavia et al. 2013). They usually grow in open exposed habitats poor in nutrients, sometimes as submerged aquatics, but usually as rosetted terrestrials. All species of Genlisea lack roots, but produce two different kinds of leaves: the green leaves above ground are usually spatulate or broadly lanceolate and arranged in a dense rosette. The pale, achlorophyllous subterraneous leaves (rhizophylls) are Y-shaped and end in two helically twisted arms. They trap and digest small soil invertebrates, but also algae and protozoa (Barthlott et al., 1998; Fleischmann 2012), which enter the rhizophylls and are caught by retrose trichomes.

The smallest known genomes in angiosperms have been reported from some species of Genlisea, with holoploid C-values of c. 75-71 Mbp (Greilhuber et al. 2006; Fleischmann et al. 2014).

The two subgenera proposed for Genlisea (Fischer et al., 2000, based on the taxonomic section concept of Fromm-Trinta, 1977) can be distinguished by the dehiscence of the capsules: While in members of subgenus Tayloria the capsule opens septicidally, subgenus Genlisea displays a circumsessile opening (with capsules occasionally open spirally, which is a very rare feature in the plant kingdom). Main characters for species delimination are the shape of the corolla and the distribution pattern of glandular and non-glandular hairs on scape, sepals and capsule (Fleischmann 2012).

Subgenus Tayloria comprises eight species endemic to the highlands of northeastern Brazil (Fleischmann et al. 2011), members of subgenus Genlisea are found both in South America and tropical Africa, with one species ranging to Madagascar (Fleischmann 2012). The phylobiogeographic distribution can be explained by bidirectional trans-Atlantic long-distance dispersal (Fleischmann et al. 2010).


Barthlott W., Porembski S., Fischer E., Gemmel B. (1998): First protozoa-trapping plant found. Nature 392: 447.

Fischer E., Porembski S., Barthlott W. (2000): Revision of the genus Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae) in Africa and Madagascar with notes on ecology and phytogeography. Nordic Journal of Botany 20: 291 – 318.

Fleischmann A. (2018): Systematics and evolution of Lentibulariaceae: II. Genlisea. In: Ellison A.M. & Adamec L. (eds.): Carnivorous plants: physiology, ecology, and evolution. Oxford University Press, 81 – 88.

Fleischmann A. (2012): Monograph of the genus Genlisea. Redfern Natural History Productions Ltd., Poole. 727 pp.

Fleischmann A., Costa S.M., Bittrich V., Amaral M.C.E. & Hopkins M. (2017): A new species of corkscrew plant (Genlisea, Lentibulariaceae) from the Amazon lowlands of Brazil, including a key to all species occurring north of the Amazon River. Phytotaxa 319: 289 – 297

Fleischmann A., Michael T.P., Rivadavia F., Sousa A., Wang W., Temsch E.M., Greilhuber J., Müller K.F. & G. Heubl (2014): Evolution of genome size and chromosome number in the carnivorous plant genus Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae), with a new estimate of the minimum genome size in angiosperms. Annals of Botany 114: 1651 – 1663.

Fleischmann A., Rivadavia F., Gonella P.M., Heubl G. (2011): A revision of Genlisea subgenus Tayloria (Lentibulariaceae). Phytotaxa 33: 1 – 40.

Fleischmann A., Schäferhoff B., Heubl G., Rivadavia F., Barthlott W. & K.F. Müller (2010): Phylogenetics and character evolution in the carnivorous plant genus Genlisea A.St.-Hil. (Lentibulariaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56: 768 – 783.

Fromm-Trinta E. (1977): Tayloria Fromm-Trinta - Nova Seca do genere Genlisea St.-Hil. Boletim do Museu Nacional Rio de Janeiro, Botanica 44: 1 – 4.

Greilhuber J., Borsch T., Müller K., Worberg A., Porembski S. & Barthlott W. (2006): Smallest angiosperm genomes found in Lentibulariaceae, with chromosomes of bacterial size. Plant Biology 8: 770 – 777.

Rivadavia F., Gonella P.M. & A. Fleischmann (2013): A new and tuberous species of Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae) from the campos rupestres of Brazil. Systematic Botany 38: 464 – 470.