Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Zigzag Bladderwort - Utricularia subulata   L.
Members of Lentibulariaceae:
Members of Utricularia with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Lentibulariaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionFound throughout the southern 50-60% of the Coastal Plain, known records for every county from Wake southeast to Carteret and then south to the SC state line. Only a few scattered records north of Wake, Wayne, and Beaufort counties. Widely scattered in the Piedmont and Mountains, but seemingly absent over much of these provinces.

This is a fairly widespread species, ranging north to NS, TN, and MO, and then south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceThis is the state's most widespread species of bladderwort. It is often common in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills, though probably most numerous in the coastal counties. Rare in the northern Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Mountains. It is likely declining in the Piedmont and Mountains, as wetlands supporting most carnivorous plants are under great threat.
HabitatThis is the state's only terrestrial bladderwort, though it is a wetland species. It grows in mud, wet or damp sand, and very shallow ditches, as well as edges of pools, ponds, etc. It also occurs in damp places within savannas and flatwoods; a walk through a savanna often yields some of these plants.
PhenologyBlooms mostly from March into July, though it can bloom later. It fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis species should be easily separated from all other bladderworts, as it almost always grows in mud or damp sand and not in shallow water. Normally, the underground leaves are not seen, as they grow in the mud or wet sand, and thus usually one sees a very slender, filamentous and short flowering stalk only. This stalk is usually just 3-4 inches tall, if that, topped by 2-8 small and bright yellow flowers. Each flower is only 1/4-1/3-inch across, and tends to look flattened from the side, usually on a diagonal slant. Generally just one flower is seen in bloom at a time on a given plant. Though the common name is generally Zigzag Bladderwort, the scape is not necessarily zigzag in appearance, within the flower cluster. This species and Drosera capillaris are the two carnivorous plants that one normally has little trouble finding in a few hours of surveying in savanna and flatwood habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Slender Bladderwort
State RankS4
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, outlet of Scotland Lane Annual Burn Site, May 2009. ScotlandPhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type