Yes, there is a carnivore on our north pond. No, it is not a coyote in for a swim. It's a plant! But not Audrey - that plant in "Little Shop of Horrors"!
Take a walk along our pond path north. See the yellow flowers breaking the surface of our ponds just beyond the purple flowered Pickerelweed?
These are the flowers and stems of the Common Bladderwort. They have reddish-green stems, which are predominantly underwater but may break through and rise above it. At the top of the stem is a raceme of up to twenty (20) small, bright yellow snapdragon-like flowers.
The Common Bladderwort is free floating and has no roots. It has small reddish bladders that extend from leaf filament axils. The "bladders" are used to capture small aquatic organisms. The hairs at the opening of the bladder serve as triggers. When contacted, they cause the trap to spring open, drawing in water and organisms like a vacuum. The trapping process takes only 1/460 of one second. Enzymes digest the victim.
During the blooming period, these bladders fill with air to keep the plant afloat. And, later this fall, they fill with water to sink the plant when it goes into dormancy.
The Common Bladderwort grows to approximately eight (8) inches tall. The leaves are up to two (2) inches long. The flowers are three-quarters (0.75) of an inch across.
Common Bladderwort is native to North America and is found across the United States. It is found in inlets and quiet corners in lakes, ponds, wet marshes, rivers and streams, ditches, and excavation sites. The Common Bladderwort blooms during the summer months.
The Carillon at Stonegate community is truly fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest, and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve does an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!