Utric­u­laria Gibba - The Car­ni­vore!

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Gardening - By Jutta Hamil­ton

On a re­cent visit to a neigh­bour, my at­ten­tion was drawn to a dainty, very pretty bright yel­low flower. It mea­sured only a cen­time­ter across and sat on tiny frag­ile stem, bloom­ing on mass in a small wa­ter fea­ture.

On ques­tion­ing what it was and where it came from, I was given de­tailed in­for­ma­tion.

‘Well, it just ap­peared one day in the shal­low wa­ter of the pond’. Its name is Yel­low Blad­der­wort and while it flow­ers beau­ti­fully above the wa­ter, be­neath there are black dots housed by a wild and fine tan­gle of roots. These black dots are tiny blad­ders to catch food. Each blad­der has a small en­trance, which is closed by a door with a trig­ger de­vice. When the trap is set, the blad­der is empty, flat and un­der neg­a­tive pres­sure. If the trig­ger is touched by a mi­cro­scopic crea­ture, the blad­der is trig­gered, suck­ing in wa­ter and the prey and be­com­ing a full round shape. The door rapidly shuts and the catch is pro­cessed. High speed cam­era im­ages show that the prey is swal­lowed in less than a mil­lisec­ond.

Af­ter a cou­ple of hours the blad­der ex­pels the liq­uid and flat­tens it­self back into trap form, ready to as­sist the plant to sur­vive in a nu­tri­ent poor wa­ter.

It’s been re­ported that bowls of wa­ter plants that have Yel­low Blad­der­wort keep the wa­ters mosquito lar­vae free.

This lo­cally na­tive plant is a great ex­am­ple of a car­niv­o­rous plant with un­der­wa­ter leaves mod­i­fied as spe­cial­ized traps, op­er­at­ing at ex­tra­or­di­nary high speed. Sim­ply amaz­ing.

For more de­tails, visit http://www.still­creekland­care.com. au/ Face­book or phone 9653 2056

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