Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Swollen Bladderwort

Utricularia inflata

also known as Inflated Bladderwort, 
or Large Floating Bladderwort

Photographs by Lynn Cremona

The plants that I write about are plants Homeopathic remedies are made from.

This plant, Utricularia inflata has not been made into a remedy……..yet!  I hope to conduct a "Proving" of this remedy in the near future.  Please refer to an earlier  article in this Blog, "You Ask What is Homeopathy ?",  dated July 22, 2012  for a definition of a "Proving"

I found this plant so fascinating, I just had to share it with you.

I came upon it on one of my hikes in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, as I was exploring and looking for plants included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia.
Bladderworts are insectivorous/carnivorous plants with delicate, finely-divided underwater leaves and emergent snapdragon-like yellow flowers. They do not have true leaves or roots, instead they have green, highly branched, finely divided underwater leaf-like stems with small seed-like bladders. The submerged vegetation is dense and bushy.

Swollen Bladderwort has a distinctive spoke-like whorl of 4 to 10 wedge-shaped floating leaves, 4 to 9 cm long (referred to as a Float).  This raft of leaves supports the flower stalk and with its Yellow, Snapdragon-like flowers that sit at the end of a stalk which extends about five inches above the water's surface.

The "Float" with its flower develops underwater, and as the flower prepares to open, the float begins its ascent to the surface of the water. The flowers open underwater and then emerge above the waterline.

The most distinctive underwater features are the small bladder-like traps (above photo on the right).  Bladderworts capture tiny invertebrates in 1-3 millimeter-long traps, or bladders, hence the name, bladder (traps) and wort (a Middle English word for plant), submerged under water. When their prey touch the bladders, a trap door is sprung creating a vacuum that sucks the prey into the bladder. Enzymes produced by the plant then digest the prey.

Utricularia is the largest genus of carnivorous plants with more than 220 species that occur throughout the world. The Latin genus name, Utricularia,  refers to the fact that the plant is adorned with utricles, or little bag-like bladders.

Principally found in eastern North American clear freshwater wetlands, but can survive in muddy situations if the water dries up. The only habitat they do not survive in is brackish to marine environments. The photos were taken at Well's Mill Lake, in the Pine Barren's of New Jersey.

Here is a high speed video recording of the plant swallowing its prey in less than a millisecond!

Good Health,
© Lynn Cremona 2013, all rights reserved.