It’s a floating, carnivorous plant found in waterways throughout North America.
Come to Audubon in July and August and you may see our ponds be-speckled with the snapdragon-like yellow flowers produced by this plant.
Floating? Yup. It doesn’t put roots into soil. Most of the plant is an underwater and stays near the bottom of the pond until summer when it floats up to the surface, produces a whorl of fleshy leaves and a bright yellow flower.
Carnivorous? Yup. The underwater network of leaf-like stems contain tiny bladders. Here’s the best explanation I found for how the bladders work, from the US Forest Service site listed below:
Hairs at the opening of the bladder serve as triggers, and when contacted, mechanically cause the trap to spring open, drawing in water and organisms like a vacuum. Enzymes and /or bacteria inside the traps aid in digestion.
Ain’t nature cool?
- US Forest Service – Celebrating Wildflowers website
(comprehensive write-up, nice photos – including one of the underwater stems and bladders, range map)
- Department of Ecology, State of Washington
(nice photo of underwater bladders)
- AquaPlant – Texas Agrilife Extension Service
(nice line drawing of the plant. Also, the photo shows the whorl of fleshy leaves that support the erect flower stem)