Utricularia purpurea Walter
Vesiculina purpurea (Walter) Raf.
Purple bladderwort is found in (mostly under) quiet, acidic ponds. Tiny “bladders” attached to submersed leaf segments ingest small aquatic creatures, nourishing the bladderwort, so technically this plant is carnivorous. But the relationship between plant and prey is really a synergy: bladdwort harbors algae, zooplankton, and debris in its bladders, thus both feeding and eating its prey.
Plants: Plants are mostly submersed, up to 3' (91 cm) in size, floating in shallow water. It lacks roots, but has large networks of tiny leaves that look somewhat like patches of algae.
Leaves: In whorls of 5-7, divided into lacy-looking threadlike segments that divide repeatedly. Many segments have a bladder at the end.
Flowers: In groups of 1-4, thrust above the water surface a 2-6" (5-15 cm) on bare, maroon stems. Each flower is purple or red-purple, with a yellow spot in the center, and irregularly shaped. Flowers somewhat resemble snapdragons, and are ¼-½" (7.6-12 mm) in size. They appear from July to September.
Fruits: Round capsules.
Utricularia purpurea at Minnesota Wildflowers
Utricularia purpurea on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site
Utricularia purpurea on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Utricularia purpurea at the University of Florida IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (A video)
Utricularia purpurea on Wikipedia
Utricularia purpurea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.