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UTRICULARIA GIBBA

Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Low to Very High
Plant Structure: Unknown
Family: Lentibulariaceae
Genus: Utricularia
Region: Cosmopolitan
Location: Cosmopolitan
Size: very small
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Utricularia gibba is a widespread carnivorous plant species found in bogs and the swampy edges of ponds over much of the world. While an interesting plant, it is of extremely limited use in planted aquariums and is more often than not introduced as a hitchhiker.

U. gibba does not have the whorled leaves of most aquatic Utricularia species but instead has tiny, almost vestigial leaves spread sparsely along what is little more than a very thin stem with occasional capture bladders. With them, it captures tiny aquatic prey. All but the tiniest of organisms are safe from its predations, but it really makes a name for itself as a pest by becoming thoroughly interwoven among other plants. Beginning as a curiosity, it soon becomes the bane of many aquascapers. Unlike myriad algae and cyanobacteria, proper fertilization and tank maintenance is of no help eliminating it; only patience, persistence and tweezers can turn the tide, as it thrives in a wide variety of conditions. Naturally, spotting and removing it prior to introduction is best.

For the connoisseur of carnivorous plants, Utricularia gibba may hold some interest. Its yellow flowers are very large in relation to the rest of the plant and can be quite pretty. But although it has been used to bind submersed Riccia fluitans by Takashi Amano, it is universally regarded as useless as a featured plant by anyone trying to create a beautiful planted aquarium.

Photo #1 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2008 by Kris Weinhold. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2008 by Kris Weinhold. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3 Bladder closeup: US and International Copyright 2008 by Kris Weinhold. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #4 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2009 by Michael Teesdale. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #5 Flower: US and International Copyright 2009 by Michael Teesdale. All Rights Reserved.