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Wavy Bladderwort

Utricularia australis

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:
30 centimetres tall
Ditches, ponds, swamps, water, wetland.

Yellow, 2 petals
Yellow flowers, up to 15mm across. The lower lip has flat or slightly upturned margins and the spur is 7 or 8mm long. Flowers are on stems between 10 and 20cm in length. This species is similar in appearance to Greater Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris) but has paler flowers and the lower lip of Greater Bladderwort is downturned rather than flat or slightly upturned. Wavy Bladderwort is also much less frequent.
The fruits are rarely seen in the British Isles. They are a many-seeded, globular capsule, similar in appearance to a small grape.
An aquatic perennial species. The green, thread-like, segmented leaves are present on both submerged and aerial stems.
Other Names:
Australian Bladderwort, Southern Bladderwort, Yellow Bladderwort.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Utricularia australis, also known as southern bladderwort or Australian bladderwort, is a small, carnivorous aquatic plant that is native to Australia and New Zealand. 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. australis 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. australis is a protected species in some areas and may not be collected or removed from the wild without permission.


Wavy Bladderwort (Utricularia australis) is a fascinating aquatic carnivorous plant species that is native to Australia. It is a member of the bladderwort genus, which includes over 200 species of carnivorous plants.

One of the most interesting features of the Wavy Bladderwort is its modified leaves, which serve as bladder-like traps for small aquatic animals such as insects and crustaceans. These bladders are filled with water, and when a small prey triggers the sensitive hairs on the trap door, the door opens and the prey is sucked into the bladder in a fraction of a second. The plant then digests the prey to obtain essential nutrients that are not available in its aquatic environment.

Wavy Bladderwort is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of aquatic habitats, including ponds, swamps, and slow-moving streams. It is a free-floating plant that can grow up to 20 cm in length, with delicate yellow or green flowers that bloom from summer to autumn.

The plant is easy to cultivate and can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes or by collecting and planting the seeds. In cultivation, Wavy Bladderwort should be grown in nutrient-poor water, as it is adapted to obtaining its nutrients from its prey. If grown in water that is too rich in nutrients, the plant may become stunted or die.

Aside from its carnivorous nature, Wavy Bladderwort has also been known to have some medicinal properties. For example, it has been used in traditional Australian medicine for the treatment of skin diseases and urinary disorders.

Wavy Bladderwort is a unique and ecologically important species that plays a role in controlling the populations of small aquatic animals in its environment. It is also an important food source for several species of aquatic insects and birds.

However, like many carnivorous plant species, Wavy Bladderwort is facing several threats to its survival, including habitat destruction, water pollution, and over-collection for the horticultural trade. To ensure the survival of this fascinating species, it is important to protect its natural habitats and to practice sustainable and responsible cultivation practices.

Wavy Bladderwort is also a great species for educational and scientific purposes. It is often used in classroom settings to teach students about the adaptations and survival strategies of carnivorous plants, as well as the important role that these species play in their ecosystem.

In scientific studies, Wavy Bladderwort has been used as a model organism to better understand the mechanisms behind its carnivorous behavior, including the anatomy and physiology of its traps, and the biochemical processes involved in the digestion of its prey.

Moreover, the Wavy Bladderwort is a relatively simple species for laboratory experiments and is often used to study the process of photosynthesis and the effects of environmental factors such as light and temperature on the growth and development of aquatic plants.

To summarize, Wavy Bladderwort is a valuable species for a variety of purposes, from its unique and intriguing carnivorous nature to its importance as an educational and scientific resource. By learning more about this species, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and diversity of the natural world and the role that each species plays within its ecosystem.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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