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Utricularia inflata (Swollen bladderwort)
Cressler, Alan

Utricularia inflata

Utricularia inflata Walter

Swollen Bladderwort, Floating Bladderwort

Lentibulariaceae (Bladderwort Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A carnivorous, aquatic plant with several yellow flowers on a stem that rises above the water over a wheel-like float of inflated leaf stalks.

When swimming prey, such as minute crustaceans, touch the trigger hairs surrounding the mouth of one of the bladders, a trapdoor-like flap of tissue swings open and the bladder quickly expands, sucking the organisms inside. Enzymes are secreted to dissolve the prey into nutritional elements for the plant. Among the fifteen species that occur in eastern North America, only this one has floats. Reversed Bladderwort (U. resupinata) and Purple Bladderwort (U. purpurea) have purple flowers. U. olivacea is the most delicate. The entire plant is no longer than a dime, with a yellowish-white flower less than 1/10" (2.5 mm) long borne on a stalk 1/10-1/3" (2.5-8 mm) tall. Greater Bladderwort (U. vulgaris) is a common yellow-flowering form that lacks the inflated leaf stalks.


From the Image Gallery

11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower stem up to about 10 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MD , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA , WA
Native Distribution: Nova Scotia and New England south to Florida; west to Texas; north to Tennessee; northwest to Indiana.
Native Habitat: Ponds and ditches.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

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Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.2 - Annual Wildflower Days Festival, Wildflower Center Hotline, The Visitor Experien...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Utricularia inflata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Utricularia inflata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Utricularia inflata


Record Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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