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Carnivorous Plants - Utricularia floridana - Early May, 2009.
by Makoto Honda
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2009-December-31

Utricularia floridana is a huge bladderwort, endemic to the southeastern part of the United States - Florida (of course!), Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina (P. Taylor). It is getting increasingly rare in recent years due to habitat destruction in the region. Thanks to Randy Zerr (of Florida), I was able to observe the natural habitat of this remarkable species in western Florida.

Utricularia floridana
grows in quiet, deep water (often 1 m deep) in lakes and ponds. The species exhibits clear dimorphism in its vegetative growth: White, branching stolons bearing numerous traps and green, leafy, sometimes branching stolons that bear only sporadic, small traps. A green densely leafy stolon (6-7 cm across) in the water, reaching 50 cm long, resembles a fluffy "foxtail."  A chlorophyll-lacking, trap-only stolon (up to 1 m long) grows in the soil. 

U. floridana produces a thick (3 mm across) inflorescence that sometimes reaches 1 m long.  Affixed firmly at the lake bottom, U. floridana is the only species capable of penetrating a meter-deep water and sending a long peduncle in the air. Yellow flowers open in the air. Only the upper part of the peduncle (5-15 cm) protrudes above the water surface.

 

Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness:
Utricularia floridana

 


Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness: Utricularia floridana

 


Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness: Utricularia floridana

 

A yellow flower is large - up to 2 cm across. The upper corolla lip is as large as, or larger than, the lower lip. The lower lip has a prominent, 2-lobed swelling at the base.  The narrow spur hides beneath the lower lip.  One peduncle bears up to 20 flowers. We visited two localities in western Florida. In the first habitat, no flowers were seen - only flower buds. In the second habitat, many specimens were already in flower, on May 8, 2009.



Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness: Utricularia floridana.
May 8, 2009, in western Florida.


Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness: Utricularia floridana.
May 8, 2009, in western Florida.

 


Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness: Utricularia floridana

 

References:  Peter Taylor (1989), Donald Schnell (2002).

 

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