The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: Brocchinia: the species

A: There are about twenty known species of Brocchinia, and no doubt plenty more that haven't been described. One species, Brocchinia tatei, can reach enormous dimensions (about 1.5m in diameter). However, only two species are regularly considered likely to be carnivorous: Brocchinia hechtioides Mez and Brocchinia reducta Baker. A few times I have seen Brocchinia tatei L.B.Smith added to this list as well, but not convincingly.

B. hechtioides, with about 5-15 leaves 30-60 cm long, is a little larger than Brocchinia reducta.

The two species B. hechtioides and B. reducta can only be reliably identified when in flower. The inflorescences of B. reducta are mostly bipinnate, while the inflorescences of B. hechtioides are mostly tripinnate. If you don't know these definitions, look them up. The general shape of B. hechtioides is said to be somewhat more spreading than the tightly tubular B. reducta, but this not to be entirely trusted. It is certainly not to be applied in cultivated collections, where plants tend to adopt an artificially spreading appearance because of inadequate light. Alas, hybrids are reported, which confuse things even further.

Lowland and highland populations of Brocchinia exist, and may represent different taxa at some level, but probably not at any rank of significance.

So little work has been done on these species in a comprehensive way that if botanists conclude they should be merged into a single species, or perhaps discover additional species, no one will be surprised.

Page citations: Juniper, B.E., et al. 1989; Mabberley, D.J. 1987; McPherson, S. 2006; Rice, B.A. 2006a.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005