An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Common Bladderwort

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Common bladderwort is a carnivorous flowering plant – in amongst its finely-divided, submerged leaves, it possesses tiny sacs which were once thought to be flotation devices, but are actually highly specialized traps that capture, hold and digest food for the plant.   These sacs have a double-sealed, airtight door on one end.  When this door is closed, the sac, or bladder, expels water through its wall, creating a partial vacuum inside.  A leafy, feather-like structure hangs down adjacent to the door and the instant an organism bumps against this feathery trigger, it twists and breaks the seal of the door.  The vacuum inside causes water to rush in, pulling the victim along with it. As the bladder fills with water, the pressure is equalized inside and out and the door automatically closes, caging the plant’s prey.  This entire process takes 2/1000ths of a second.  As enzymes digest the prey, special cells in the bladder’s wall pump out the water and re-establish a partial vacuum inside, preparing the trap to spring again.

One response

  1. The wonder of it all!

    July 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s