Utricularia resupinata (Lavender Bladderwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Resupinate Bladderwort, Northeastern Bladderwort, Inverted Bladderwort
Family:Lentibulariaceae (Bladderwort)
Life cycle:annual, perennial
  • State Threatened
Habitat:sun; sandy soil in quiet waters
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flower] A single pink to purplish flower at the tip of a naked green to maroon stem emerging out of the water. Flowers are ¼ to nearly ½ inch long, broadly tubular, the lower lip broad, 3-lobed and somewhat ruffled around the edge, paler at the base with a spot of yellow on the center lobe. The upper lip is much narrower and notched into 2 lobes. A slightly curved spur is present below the lower lip.

[close-up of glands] The outer surface of the tube below the lower lip may be sparsely covered in glandular hairs. At the base of the flower is a pair of hairless, egg-shaped bracts. Flowers are typically held tilted back, with the flower facing upward and the spur ascending to nearly erect.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are erect, linear to thread-like, up to about 1 inch long, alternate along a horizontal stem that is often buried in the soil, with 1 or 2 roots at the base of each leaf. The section of leaf above the soil line is green, the buried parts white.

[close-up of bladders] Bladders may be present on the leaves, typically in pairs positioned just above the soil line, with the mouth of the bladder pointed up. The flowering stem is slender, hairless, and may extend up to 12 inches long.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is a round capsule.


One of the 2 purplish Utricularia species in Minnesota, Lavender Bladderwort is distinguished by having single flowers, as opposed to clusters of 2 or more, and by the linear leaves on a horizontal stem. It is considered rare in a large portion of its US range and is currently a Threatened species in Minnesota and Special Concern in Wisconsin. According to the DNR, only 14 populations have been found in Minnesota, nearly all of which are in lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area that have fluctuating water levels and sandy bottoms. It is at greatest risk from recreational activities, was listed as a Special Concern species in 1996 and elevated to Threatened in 2013. Although the commonly held view is that the bladders of bladderworts are for capturing and digesting microorganisms that provide the plant with nutrients, bladders more often have been observed to contain communities of microorganisms (bacteria, algae, and diatoms) living in the bladders, not as prey, suggesting that the bladders may also, and perhaps more importantly, serve to establish mutually beneficial relationships with some microorganisms.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Itasca County and in Wisconsin.


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