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Utricularia macrorhiza (Common bladderwort)
Glase, Terry

Utricularia macrorhiza

Utricularia macrorhiza Leconte

Common Bladderwort

Lentibulariaceae (Bladderwort Family)

Synonym(s): Utricularia vulgaris, Utricularia vulgaris ssp. macrorhiza, Utricularia vulgaris var. americana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

A small floating plant with 6-20 bilaterally symmetrical, yellow flowers in each rather stout, erect raceme.

This species also occurs in Eurasia. Of possibly five Utricularia species in the West, several difficult to distinguish, this has the largest flowers. Another species easy to identify is Mountain Bladderwort (U. intermedia), with bladders on special branches distinct from the leaves. In all species of Utricularia the bladders are elaborate traps. When a small organism brushes hairs near a bladder pore, the pore's tiny door opens inward and water rushes inside, carrying the organism with it. The door quickly closes, the trapping process taking 1/460 second. Enzymes digest the victim. Comparatively large organisms, such as mosquito larvae, may be caught in the door; if the door is repeatedly triggered, they are then digested little by little.


From the Image Gallery

25 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Throughout much of North America.
Native Habitat: Ponds and slow-moving water.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Aquatic: yes


Warning: This plant's tiny stinging hairs contain an acid that can cause a severe, burning skin irritation.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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