Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“I’ll get you my pretty…”


It was time to haul out my rubber boots and walking stick today as we would be on a quest for some carnivorous plants.  The area we were going to required a walk through a very wet and muddy area.  The boots also help deter mosquitoes and chiggers from attacking my legs.  I need the walking stick to help with my stability walking through mucky areas.

Before we sloshed through the wet area, we checked out a culvert that we were told had a lot of bladderworts near it.


Sure enough, we found them.  They are a carnivorous plant that is aquatic and is usually only noticed when in bloom. 

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Wikipedia had a pretty good explanation of how this plant operates.   Aquatic species, such as U. vulgaris (common bladderwort), possess bladders that are usually larger and can feed on more substantial prey such as water fleas (Daphnia), nematodes and even fish fry, mosquito larvae and young tadpoles. Despite their small size, the traps are extremely sophisticated. In the active traps of the aquatic species, prey brush against trigger hairs connected to the trapdoor. The bladder, when "set", is under negative pressure in relation to its environment so that when the trapdoor is mechanically triggered, the prey, along with the water surrounding it, is swept into the bladder. Once the bladder is full of water, the door closes again, the whole process taking only ten to fifteen thousandths of a second.  The bladders are those many little round things located under the water.  I was thrilled to find these plants as I’d never seen one before.  I continue to be overwhelmed by the diversity of the natural world.


Then it was on to see more pitcher plant blooms.  The most common species has yellow flowers, but last year I learned of a spot that had red blossoms.

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The red blossoms emerge a little later than the pale yellow pitcher plants.  This area had tons of yellow blooms and quite a few pitchers already, but the red blooms have just begun.


To me, these red blooms have a waxier look to them, and you just can’t beat that vibrant color.


I found two pale yellow pitcher plants doing a tango, with a wall flower waiting on the side.  Eye rolling smile  I suppose some of you may become tired of my pitcher plant pictures, but I’m so fascinated by these carnivorous plants that I can’t help myself.  Just wait until you see the pitchers from the red blossoms in a week or two.  Perhaps you’ll be  as thrilled as I.  They take my breath away…

I had to leave Emma home today so the Wicked Witch of the West wouldn’t get “your little dog too!”  You can never tell about these carnivorous plants. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy