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Lesser Bladderwort

Utricularia minor

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lentibulariaceae (Bladderwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, fens, ponds, water.

Yellow, 2 petals
Pale greenish-yellow, up to 8mm across. The flowers have a short, blunt spur. The flowers look similar to those of Snapdragon.
The fruit is a round capsule.
A small, carnivorous, perennial flower with leaves that alternate along the stems. This is the smallest of the British Bladderwort species. The leaves are sometimes bristled. The bladders trap small animals inside them in order to feed.
Other Names:
Small Bladderwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Utricularia minor, also known as small bladderwort, is a small, carnivorous aquatic plant that is native to North and Central America. It is a member of the Lentibulariaceae family and is known for its small, bladder-like structures that are used to trap and digest small aquatic animals, such as water fleas and protozoa. The plant has thin, delicate stems and small, yellow or purple flowers that are borne on long stalks above the water surface. It is a popular plant for aquaria and is often used in naturalized ponds or water gardens. U. minor is a fast-growing plant that is easy to care for and is tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. It prefers full sun and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels. It is important to note that U. minor is a protected species in some areas and may not be collected or removed from the wild without permission.


Lesser Bladderwort (Utricularia minor) is a carnivorous plant species that belongs to the genus Utricularia. It is commonly found in wet habitats such as marshes, bogs, and along the edges of streams and ponds.

This plant is known for its unique method of capturing prey. It has small bladders that are filled with water and have a small opening that leads to the inside of the bladder. The opening is triggered by the movement of small aquatic animals, such as crustaceans and insects, which then causes the bladder to suck in the animal and trap it inside. This process provides the plant with essential nutrients that are lacking in its wetland habitat.

Utricularia minor is a small plant, growing to a maximum height of 20 cm. Its leaves are narrow and submerged, while its small, yellow flowers are usually found above the water's surface. The plant reproduces via seeds and produces a large number of seeds each year, which can be dispersed by water or wind.

In its native range, Lesser Bladderwort is a common and widespread species. However, it is important to note that the survival of this species is threatened by habitat destruction, particularly the loss of wetland habitats. Climate change is also a concern for the future of this plant species.

Lesser Bladderwort is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, bladder and kidney problems, and digestive disorders. The active compounds found in the plant have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which make it an effective treatment for a range of health issues.

In terms of its cultivation, Lesser Bladderwort is a hardy plant that is well adapted to growing in wetland habitats. It can be grown in a variety of soil types as long as the soil is kept consistently moist. It is best grown in full sun or partial shade, and can be propagated by dividing the plant or by planting its seeds.

When growing Lesser Bladderwort in a garden or pond, it is important to maintain the correct growing conditions. The plant needs a consistently moist soil, and it is important to ensure that the soil remains well-drained to prevent the roots from rotting. It is also important to avoid over-fertilizing the plant, as this can negatively impact its health.

The Lesser Bladderwort is an important plant species not only because of its ecological and medicinal value, but also because it is a keystone species in its native habitat. As a carnivorous plant, it helps to control the populations of small aquatic animals and insects, which in turn helps to maintain the balance of the wetland ecosystem. By providing a source of food for other species, such as birds and frogs, the Lesser Bladderwort plays a crucial role in supporting the health of the entire ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological value, the Lesser Bladderwort is also an important subject of scientific study. Scientists are interested in studying the plant's unique carnivorous behavior, as well as its ability to survive in challenging environmental conditions. Research has also been conducted on the plant's medicinal properties, and scientists are working to develop new treatments based on its active compounds.

Unfortunately, despite its importance, the Lesser Bladderwort is facing a number of threats. As mentioned earlier, the destruction of wetland habitats is the main threat to the survival of this species. Climate change is also a concern, as rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns can have a negative impact on the plant's health and reproduction. Invasive species and over-harvesting for medicinal purposes are also threats to the survival of the Lesser Bladderwort.

In conclusion, the Lesser Bladderwort is a remarkable plant species that plays a vital role in its native habitat. By raising awareness about its importance and working to protect and preserve its habitat, we can help ensure the survival of this valuable and fascinating species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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