(Plate VIII.)









Time of Bloom

All summer.

Flowers: several growing on each scape. Calyx: labiate or two-lipped Corolla: labiate, the spur shorter than the lower lip. Stamens: two, with anthers that meet in the throat. Pistil: one; stigma two-lipped. Leaves: under water, many-parted, bearing rather large bladders. Stem: immersed.

This aquatic herb, which we find in still, slow water, is hardly one to inspire us with affection. It belongs to the strange group of insectivorous plants, those that are so formed as to entrap insects, which they digest and assimilate as food. In this way, by taking advantage of defenseless members of the animal world, they show a very unprincipled disregard of all plant tradition. But aside from the moral consideration this little plant is most wonderful. The bladders are furnished with small hairs or bristles which keep up a wavy motion and create a sort of current that sucks the unsuspicious creature within its folds. A hinged arrangement, or lid then closes sharply down upon him, and the bristles make it their business to see that he does not escape.

Pistil and Stamens

Pistil and Stamens.

But from our childhood we are taught that an object cannot sink that has attached to it a bladder filled with air. We therefore ask, how does the bladderwort reach the bottom of the pond to spend the winter ? Simply because the little plant is clever. It takes time by the forelock, ejects the air from its bladders, and calmly allows them to fill with water. They then bear it below, where it remains while its seeds are ripening, and until it feels the spring sunshine thrilling it with a desire to rise again and to bloom. The bladders then, with small cer-emony, throw out the no longer useful water; the plant rises, and they fill again with air that floats the plant during the summer.