Utricularia dichotoma subsp. fontana

Utricularia dichotoma subsp. fontana

Utricularia dichotoma subsp fontana is a subspecies of U. dichotoma endemic to seepages of the Great Dividing Range in northern NSW and central QLD. Its name alludes to the seepages and springs it usually occurs in (fontanus = fountain).

The subspecies is most easily recognised by its long, thin corolla spur, which conspicuously bends forwards towards its extremity. The lower corolla lip is proportionally small compared to other subspecies and is generally similar or shorter in length than the spur. The ridges at the palate are sometimes strongly protruding. The upper corolla lip is proportionally small. The bracts are somewhat variable but are generally long and thin, tapering to a point. The base of the bracts are somewhat gibbous and sometimes feature a downwards pointing spur. The leaves are round to oval shape with a rounded apex.

I have chiefly observed the subspecies in seepages at towards the base of undulating, granite hills in inland Northern NSW. The plants usually occur in semi-seasonal seepages into road drains or areas where underlying granite force water to the surface. Flowering occurs is noted to usually occur in spring-early summer in Northern NSW, although I observed a flowering peak in May, albeit under wet La Nina conditions.

In Northern NSW, the species sometimes grows alongside Utricularia dichotoma subsp. aquilonia. Subsp. fontana is distinguished by its long, forward pointing spur (that of aquilonia is broad) and smaller corolla lip (that of aquilonia is usually large). Some populations grow in a similar habitat to U. beaugleholei subsp. orientalis, with flowers that feature angular palate ridges. The range of these two taxa are not known to overlap, with beaugleholei subsp. orientalis growing in more southern areas of NSW. U. dichotoma subsp. fontana is distinguished from beaugleholei subsp. orientalis by its 2-3 yellow palate ridges (those of orientalis are sometimes divided into >3 segments) and gibbous base of its bracts (those of orientalis are non-gibbous at the base and never feature a downwards pointing spur.

Side view of a plant at Torrington. Note that the corolla spur is bent forwards at the extremity. The lower corolla lip is small.
A plant near Armidale
Leaves are round – oval with a rounded tip
Plant in a woodland seepage in Torrington
Plant in habitat in a roadside drain
Plant in habitat on a roadside drain
Plant being pollinated by a honey bee.
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