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