Bladderwort There are more than 200 species of this highly advanced, somewhat bizarre perennial.
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Bladderwort (Utricularia species)


There are more than 200 species of this highly advanced, somewhat bizarre perennial. Hobbyists grow them for their orchid-like flower. Harder to see are the bladder-like traps, some no bigger than a pin head on their stems or roots. They can capture tiny organisms in 10 thousandths of a second.

True free-floating bladderworts are annual plants that lack roots but have flowers on erect stems above the water. The entire floating plant is only about 8 inches tall. Flowers emerge above the surface and are yellowish with 3-lobes and a spur underneath. Underwater the leaf branches or petioles are fleshy and inflated with air which allows them to float. Leaves are whorled with 4 to 10 lateral leaves which fork often giving them a very delicate capillary appearance. Bladderworts are unique in that the underwater leaves bear small oval "bladders" that trap and digest small aquatic creatures. Bladderworts are usually found in quiet shallow, acidic waters and can form dense mats.

Bladderwort Control Options


Bladderwort can be removed by raking or seining it from the pond's surface.

Fertilization to produce a phytoplankton or algal "bloom" prevents the establishment of most bottom rooted aquatic weeds and produces a strong food chain to the pond fish.


Grass carp will seldom control aquatic vegetation the first year they are stocked. They will consume bladderwort. Grass carp stocking rates to bladderwort are usually in the range of 7 to 15 per surface acre.


The active ingredients that have been successful in treating bladderwort include diquat (G), and fluridone (G). E = excellent, G = good

Resources: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University

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Products to Control Bladderwort

Planktonic Algae

WhiteCap is a fluridone compound and has been effective on coontail. It is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides.


Redwing is a liquid diquat formulation that has been effective on coontail. It is a contact algaecide and herbicide. Contact herbicides act quickly and kill all plants cells that they contact.

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