Pinguicula ionantha - Godfrey
Violet-flowered Butterwort
Other English Common Names: Godfrey's Butterwort, Violet Butterwort
Other Common Names: violet butterwort
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pinguicula ionantha Godfrey (TSN 34436)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.154869
Element Code: PDLNT01020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Bladderwort Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Lentibulariaceae Pinguicula
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pinguicula ionantha
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 24Nov2014
Global Status Last Changed: 01Jan1983
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Known from about 60 occurrences in the central Florida panhandle counties, with most sites having few individuals. The species' habitat is declining in extent and quality due to logging, drainage alteration, and lack of fire.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (12Jul1993)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Restricted to the central panhandle region of Florida with known occurrences in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf,  Liberty, and Walton counties (Wunderlin and Hansen 2008; USFWS 2009).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 60 extant occurrences (EO data in the NatureServe central database as of February 2014).

Population Size Comments: Population usually of few individuals.  11,671 plants reported as of 2009 (USFWS 2009).

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threatened by land conversion and by habitat degradation due to lack of fire, shading by planted pines, and encroachment of shrubs and saplings (e.g., Cyrilla racemiflora and Cliftonia monophylla) into grassy bog and savannah vegetation. Other threats include excessive ground disturbance, improved drainage, fertilization of pine plantations, road widening and new roads, off-road vehicles, and collecting (USFWS 2009; USFS 2014).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: "Current survey information indicates a decline in the number of populations. Eighty-three EOs distributed throughout this species' range were documented between 1956 and 2009 with an estimated 7,920 to 25,577 plants for 49 of those EOs.  Based on current survey information, 22 (26%) of these 83 EOs appear to be extirpated due to development and/or habitat modification. The estimated maximum counts of plants were also affected, with a 46% decrease in numbers; only 11,671 plants are now reported for the remaining 61 EOs."

Long-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Long-term Trend Comments: It is estimated that between 85 and 98% of herb bog/savanna habitats have been lost (Folkerts 1982 cited by Kesler et al. 2008).

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Restricted to the central panhandle region of Florida with known occurrences in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf,  Liberty, and Walton counties (Wunderlin and Hansen 2008; USFWS 2009).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Bay (12005), Calhoun (12013), Franklin (12037), Gulf (12045), Liberty (12077)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Chipola (03130012)+, New (03130013)+, Apalachicola Bay (03130014)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A perennial herb with numerous, bright green leaves, up to 8 cm long. Flowers are solitary, up to 2 cm wide, with a violet-colored throat and violet to white lobes. (Based on Clewell 1985.)
Technical Description: "Rosettes to about 15 cm across. Leaves bright green, oblong, rounded at their tips, essentially flat when fully developed with just the edges rolled upward, the upper surface clothed with short glandular hairs. Scapes mostly 10-15 cm tall, rather sparsely short-glandular pubescent. Upper lip of the calyx with oblong, rounded lobes about 4 mm long, those of the lower ovate-triangular, obtuse, 3 mm long, all dark olive green and usually suffused with some purplish pigment. Expanded corollas mostly about 2 cm across, the lobes obovate, shallowly notched, longer than broad, pale violet to white. Throat of the corolla and the tube deeper violet than the limb and with darker violet veins. Spur 4-5 mm long, yellow to olive, linear-cylindric. Palate 4-6 mm long, exserted from the throat, conical or narrowly cylindric, the upper 2/3 yellow and clothed with yellow, slender, clublike hairs some of whose tips turn red as they age; lower 1/3 of the palate on the upper side violet like the throat and bearing few or no hairs, hairy to the base on the lower side. Ridge of the corolla tube within and below the palate with relatively distant hairs having short, stout stalks and spherical to broadly oblong, orange to orange-red tips. Walls of the tube with relatively few, white, club-like hairs. Filaments pale violet to white, anthers and pollen very pale yellow. Larger lobe of the stigma violet to pale violet. Capsule depressed-globose, about 5 mm in diameter. Seeds oblong-cylindric to obpyramidal, the alveolae with 1 or 2 cross lines." (Godfrey and Wooten, 1981)
Diagnostic Characteristics: Distinguished from other southeastern Pinguicula species by corolla lobes longer than broad, uniformly violet to white (no ring of white above the throat), deeper violet in the throat, corolla tube violet, with darker violet veins, and white trichomes on the inner side wall of the corolla tube (Godfrey and Wooten, 1981).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Savanna, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Open, acidic soils of seepage bogs on gentle slopes, deep quagmire bogs, ditches, and depressions in grassy pine flatwoods and grassy savannas, often occurring in shallow standing water.  "Pinguicula ionantha occurs in herb bog habitats embedded in longleaf pine savannas. Specifically, it is found between a lower elevation habitat dominated by pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) overstory and a slightly higher elevation pine flatwoods dominated by an overstory of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) (USFWS 2009).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: There is a need for a comprehensive population survey to better assess the current status of this species" (USFWS 2009).  Frequent prescribed burnings (less than a 3-year interval), are needed to maintain optimal Pinguicula ionantha populations (Kesler et al. 2008 cited by USFWS 2009). 
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Pinguicula spp.-SE US coastal plain-EOSPECS

Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Five individuals.
Separation Barriers: Pine plantations, long-unburned pine stands with dense shrub layer, developed or agricultural areas.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 1 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: N/A
Date: 18Sep2003
Author: Chafin, L.G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Justification: Use the Generic Guidelines for the Application of Occurrence Ranks (2008).
The Key for Ranking Species Occurrences Using the Generic Approach provides a step-wise process for implementing this method.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Nov2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hardin, E.D. rev. C. Russell; rev. D.L. White, rev. A. Tomaino (2014)
Management Information Edition Date: 24Nov2014
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Mar1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): RUSSELL, C.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Annis, J.M.,  J.E. O?Brien, J.M. Coons, and B. Molano-Flores. 2013. Seed Ecology of Federally Threatened Pinguicula ionantha (Godfrey?s Butterwort). Department of Biological Sciences, Poster. Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL. []

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K., and J.W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 933 pp.

  • Hall, D.W. 1993. Illustrated plants of Florida and the Coastal Plain. Maupin House, Gainesville, Florida. 431 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kesler, H.C. 2006. Conservation of a Florida endemic carnivorous plant: Godfrey?s butterwort, Pinguicula ionantha. Thesis. Auburn University, Auburn AL. 85 pp.

  • Kesler, H.C., J.L. Trusty, S.M. Hermann, and C. Guyer. 2008. Demographic responses of Pinguicula ionantha to prescribed fire: a regression-design LTRE approach. Oecologia 156: 545-557.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Robinson, A.F., Jr., ed. 1980b. Endangered and threatened species of the southeastern United States including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. U.S. Forest Service General Rept. SA-GA 7.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Proposed threatened status for the plant Pinguicula ionantha (Godfrey's butterwort). Federal Register 57(98): 21377-21381.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2009. Pinguicula ionantha, Godfrey?s butterwort, 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Panama City Field Office, Panama City, Florida.

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS). 2014. Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed (TEP) Plant Profile for Pinguicula ionantha, Godfrey?s butterwort. Online. Available: (accessed 2014).

  • Wunderlin, R. P., and B. F. Hansen. 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Online. Available: [S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

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