Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Swollen Bladderwort - Utricularia inflata   Walter
Members of Utricularia with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Lentibulariaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionPresent over nearly all of the southwestern half of the Coastal Plain, and scattered over the rest of the province. Perhaps might be found in all counties in the province. Possibly present along the southeastern edge of the Piedmont.

This is primarily a Coastal Plain species, ranging from NJ south to southern FL, and west to eastern TX. It is scattered across AR, western TN, and central AL.
AbundanceInfrequent in the southwestern Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills, though can occur in large colonies. Rare to uncommon in the eastern and northeastern Coastal Plain; nearly or essentially absent in the northwestern Coastal Plain (west of Gates and Tyrrell counties), as well as the Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a species of often fairly deep still fresh water sites -- lakes, ponds, and deep ditches. The very similar U. radiata also occurs in these same habitats, and might occur with it. As it has floating "stems", it is not found in mud nor in very shallow pools.
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Herbaceous Ponds and Sloughs
PhenologyBlooms from May to November, and fruits shortly thereaster,
IdentificationThis species and the very similar U. radiata, which have been included as one species in the past, are quite different from the rest of the bladderworts in the state. Each of these has expanded "floats" from the long flowering stalk, and these extend outward like spokes on a wheel along the top of the water surface. This species has the floats gradually tapering to the stem (from the middle of the expanded portion), whereas U. radiata has the floats nearly parallel-sided from the widest part of the float to the stem. Also, this species has more (bright yellow) flowers in the inflorescence, typically 9-14, as opposed to an average of 3-4 flowers in U. radiata. In general, this is a more attractive plant when in bloom, not only for its more flowers, but the flowers average more golden or bright yellow than the lighter yellow flowers of U. radiata; and also U. inflata has flowers about 2/3" across as opposed to about 1/2" across in U. radiata. Lastly, the flowering scape of U. inflata is taller, being about 9-10" tall, as opposed to the shorter stalk of U. radiata at roughly 5-6" tall. These two could grow together in the same pond or lake, but seldom does that seem to occur, as the ranges in the state are a bit different, though each is essentially a Coastal Plain species.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older days, U. radiata was included within U. inflata, generally as a variety. However, splitting that species out has left U. inflata now without varieties.

Other Common Name(s)Inflated Bladderwort, Large Floating Bladderwort
State RankS3? [S3]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type