All About the Carnivorous Plant Aldrovanda Vesiculosa

Aldrovanda Vesiculosa

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Aldrovanda Vesiculosa (Waterwheels Plant)

Imagine a Venus flytrap, now stack 10-15 of them one on top of the other, remove the roots, shrink everything to about 6 inches, and soak it all in water. What's the score? - The water wheel plant, Aldrovanda vesiculosa.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa is the only living species of the genus Aldrovanda of carnivorous and aquatic plants belonging to the family of Droseraceae. There are different extinct species that only exist in fossil records.

Enjoy This Tutorial About Carnivorous Plant

It is a carnivorous aquatic plant, which lives in pools of acidic waters mainly. It is approximately 15 to 20 cm in length. Their name Vesiculosa refers to the fact that they have a type of swim bladder that allows them to stay in suspension near the surface. The trap is made up of two lobes bordered by numerous small teeth joined by a kind of "hinge" with detector hairs.

Water wheels feed on small prey such as eelworms and daphnia that venture into their traps and bump into trigger hairs. The traps are sealed around unfortunate prey using a combination of interlocking teeth and mucus sealer, forcing it to the base of the trap, closest to the hinge. At this point, the trap expels much of the water and replaces it with digestive juices. Like a fly trap, each Aldrovanda trap can catch 2-4 meals before finishing.

Plants are rootless and free-floating, and old vegetation is dying out as new vegetation grows at the opposite end.
Aldrovanda vesiculosa grows naturally in acidic ponds and lakes in Africa, Australia, Europe, India, and Japan.
Unfortunately, plants are endangered in Europe due to pollution and have become extinct in Japan in recent years.

The Waterwheel plant is a totally aquatic species, so the only thing that sticks out of the water is the flower. It produces a single white flower atop a short peduncle that branches off from the main stem/whorl of leaves. This solitary flower only opens for a few hours. Once closed, the flower is returned to the water where seed production occurs. The seed leaves, or cotyledons, remain within the seed coat and act as a source of energy storage to develop seeds.

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Aldrovanda Vesiculosa

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