plant Demanding level

Utricularia purpurea Walter

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Eastern purple bladderwort, purple-flowered bladderwort

Utricularia purpurea is a perennial, carnivorous plant, native to North and Central America. It is a free-floating plant that occurs in shallow waters, in lakes and ponds. It is a rootless species, and it gets its name from the purple flowers that are held above the water surface on a stout stalk. The leaves are underwater, while its bladders are located at the tips of the leafy branches. This highly specialized plant feeds on insects and other small organisms caught and digested in its bladder “traps”.

Native to:

Alabama, Bahamas, Belize, Connecticut, Costa Rica, Cuba, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Jamaica, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec, Rhode I., South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Submitted by
Adam Black


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

Dissolved Oxygen


Plant form
Plant type
Plant size
2-15 cm
Plant growth rate
Plant light demand
Aquarium equipment

Although it is a carnivorous plant, Utricularia purpurea can be added to many aquaria, as it will not feed on fish. Indeed, it mostly feeds on microorganisms, like zooplankton and daphnia. Furthermore, carnivorous plants do not need much nutrients, and they cannot compete with other plants.

This species prefers dark, tea-colored, boggy waters rich in tannins. It will need bright to partial bright lighting, even though it can also be grown outdoors, where it will need to be placed in full sun.

The soil included in the aquarium tank for U. purpurea should be wet to inundated, poorly drained, and acidic, with a pH around 6.

Plant care

The presence of bladderwort plants indicates a healthy aquatic environment. However, they can become invasive in certain conditions. Growth control can be done by hand pulling the plants, or removing them with an aquatic weed rake or weed cutter.

Water care

Utricularia purpurea prefers shallow, tannic water.