Colour variation in Utricularia beaugleholei

Colour variation in Utricularia beaugleholei

Variations in flower colouration are often seen in Utricularia, perhaps because many species grow as annuals from seed so large populations have thousands of individual genetically distinct specimens. Chance mutations in colour are easily noticed because the plants are mostly observed through their blooms.

In purple flowered species such as U. beaugleholei, variations in the intensity of the colour is commonplace and are probably phenotypic responses to small environmental conditions. Nonetheless, some colourations seem to result from genetic mutations…

The standard colour of U. beaugleholei is a rich and vibrant purple. The upper center ridges of the lower corolla are yellow, with the area immediately surrounding it a dark purple. Dark purple veins course through the upper corolla.

The standard colour of U. beaugleholei .

The white colour mutation is commonly observed in Utricularia. This is probably genetic in origin, with the stems of the plants also being lighter.

A white mutation. Note the complete absence of purple.

I also observed a mauve colour form in two sites in Western Victoria. This colour was much lighter than the usual purple variation, so I suspect that it is genetic in origin. Note that the typical darker shading near the yellow ridges is absent.

The following two plants are light purple but retain the dark center shading and dark venation. To me, this suggests that they are displaying phenotypic, rather than genetic variation in colour.

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