The bladderwort: No ruthless microbe killer | Science News


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The bladderwort: No ruthless microbe killer

4:34pm, February 5, 2001

A carnivorous water plant with tiny traplike bladders dotting its leaves may not deserve its reputation as a relentless predator, says a Florida scientist.

A survey of bladderwort plants in the Everglades found far more bladders harboring living organisms than dead ones, reports Jennifer H. Richards of Florida International University in Miami. Although the plant does kill insect larvae, it offers a safe home for smaller organisms, which may pay rent in nutrients. The bladderwort, or Utricularia purpurea, "is not like a bear trap," she says, but more like a terrarium.

A mature bladder has a built-in trap door that operates on a hair trigger. When the plant pumps some water o

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