Swollen Bladderwort

By William T. Hathaway

Swollen Bladderwort (Utricularia inflata)

The Swollen Bladderwort is native to the southeastern parts of the USA. From May to November it may be seen floating in ponds, pools and ditches.

Its flexing stalk enables the plant to float at different water levels. Edges of the slightly submerged leaves are surrounded by small ovoid bladders which serve as traps. When a tiny creature (a crustacean, for example) collides with the trigger hairs around the mouth of a bladder, the bladder instantly expands, opens a flap of tissue, and sucks the prey inside. For further details, consult a reliable reference such as the Audubon Field Guide to North American Wildflowers.

In moist seasons this species is commonly found throughout the coastal plain of North Carolina.

(See also other carnivorous plants.)