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Meet Your Local Aquatic Plant: The Common Bladderwort

By Hannah Buscemi

The common bladderwort is an aquatic plant native to the Northern hemisphere, and it can be found in Wisconsin and Lake Wingra. In fact, out of all the Madison area Lakes, this includes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, Lower & Upper Mud Lake, and the Yahara River, Lake Wingra was the only one to have common bladderwort noted!

It blooms in early July until about September and is found growing in wetland areas such as shorelines, ponds, and marshes. The word “bladder” comes from a system of underwater sacs that trap aquatic organisms. The plant then uses those aquatic organisms as fuel, it is referred to as a carnivorous plant.

Underneath the water level there is an arrangement of stems and leaves, as well as the bladders. It does not have any roots, is free floating, and the stems can be up to 8 inches long. It grows very quickly, often intertwines with other aquatic plants, and requires regular maintenance.

Fun Fact: Different species of bladderwort can bloom with yellow or purple flowers.

Hannah Buscemi is Badger Volunteer helping Friends of Lake Wingra this spring. She is studying Biological Systems Engineering and loves to do anything outdoors in her free time!

Source:

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/EndangeredResources/Plants.asp?mode=detail&SpecCode=PDLNT020K0

https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/utricularia_macrorhiza.shtml (also source of featured image)

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