Common Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris)

Plant Family: Badderwort Family, Lentibulariaceae

Wetland Indicator Status: OBL

Common Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris) Flower
Common Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris) flowers in protruding from the water.

Common Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris) is a submergent aquatic species often found int the quite heavily vegetated areas of lakes and marshes.   The plant has pretty little yellow flowers that protrude from the water’s surface and from a distance resemble pea flowers.

The most interesting feature of Common Bladderwort and others of the genus is the presence of bladders.  These structures all the plants to consume animals and obtain nutrients.   When an animal such as a waterflea gets close, it triggers hairs on the bladder, which causes the bladder to suddenly swell.  This creates a vacuum that sucks in the zooplankton.  Even tiny, newly hatched fish can fall victim to the bladders.  You can tell when the bladders are full because they are dark and filled with digesting zooplankton and other invertebrates.

Together with Pitcher Plant and Sundews the bladderworts make up a fascinating number of carnivorous plants.

Also see Horned Bladderwort